Eskom will pause load shedding at 17:00 on Saturday because of improved performance by its electricity generating units. But power cuts will resume on Sunday morning.
"Two units have successfully returned to service earlier than expected this morning and the pumped-storage schemes have recovered adequately, setting us on a good course to full recovery by Monday morning," said Eskom in a statement issued on Saturday morning.
The power utility added that unplanned breakdowns in some of its generating units have also decreased, and it now has some headroom to replenish the emergency reserves to better meet next week's demand. Unplanned breakdowns set at 10 553MW by 08:00 on Saturday morning, decreasing from 11 562MW on Friday morning and a high of 12 225MW on Thursday afternoon. Planned maintenance stood at 5 679MW.
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Earlier in the week, Eskom anticipated that stage 2 load shedding would continue until 06:00 on Sunday morning.
The news that the units' improved performance will now allow Eskom to provide some relief to customers during the night will likely be a welcome relief to people in areas like Johannesburg and Limpopo which have been experiencing rain since the early hours of Saturday morning. The South African Weather Service issued heavy rains and localised flooding alerts for most of Limpopo and some towns in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape on Saturday morning.
But the power utility said while it's able to provide some relief on Saturday night, the system remains unpredictable and constrained. As a result, load shedding will return at 08:00 on Sunday.