South Africa's Eskom to reduce power cuts but long-term outlook bleak

Energy company Eskom, which announced Stage 3 of load shedding last week, has now moved to Stage 4 due to high demand and a slight reduction in electricity generation.

The company, which has been applauded lately for a significant decline in load shedding, took to Twitter on Monday to announce the update, which is likely to upset many.

"Due to high demand and slight reduction in generation capacity, Stage 4 loadshedding will be implemented at 13:00 today until 05:00 on Tuesday," Eskom's official Twitter handle wrote. "We plead with the public to switch off non-essential appliances to reduce the demand."

While South Africans faced Stage 4 throughout Monday, from Tuesday onwards there will be a combination of Stage 4 and Stage 2.

In the last 24 hours, each power generating unit at Duvha, Hendrina, Kendal, Kriel, Matimba and Medupi power stations were returned to service while units at Arnot and Tutuka power stations were taken out due to breakdown, BusinessTech reported.

"The delay in returning to service two generating units at Tutuka Power Station is contributing to current capacity constraints. Eskom teams are working around the clock to return the generating units to service," Eskom said, SA News reported.

Eskom added, "We appeal to members of the public to reduce demand and we would like to thank those South Africans who do heed the call to use electricity sparingly and efficiently, including switching off geysers and pool pumps from 5pm to 9pm, as this lowers demand and helps in alleviating the pressure on the power system and contributes to lower stages of load shedding."

The load shedding stage increased after Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa assured the country over the weekend that South Africa will "survive" this winter season as there is a huge improvement in the generation of energy.

In the last few weeks, South Africans experienced a drastic drop from 12 hours daily to only two hours on a daily basis.

Earlier this month, the electricity minister shared that the government is working towards ending load shedding in the country and he is confident that the issue will get resolved, adding that it is an engineering problem.

"I eat, breathe and sleep [finding] solutions to load shedding and I'm confident that with the team that is helping us, we will be able to resolve load shedding," Minister Ramokgopa said.

Under the Energy Action Plan (EAP), which was introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year, the minister revealed that the government is planning to get rid of load shedding completely by creating a buffer.

The government expected the winters would hit the high demand of 34,000 megawatts, however, it has not reached close, thanks to the reduced electricity demand from households and industries.

However, looking at the increase in load shedding again, it seems winters might be difficult for South Africans. Aside from load shedding, South Africa is also dealing with another biggest problem in the country, which is the shortage of skilled workers.