Eskom has taken to Twitter to explain its position on load shedding Stages 5 - 8, saying they are purely there as a "contingency measure".
Referring to a media briefing held by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom Board Chairperson Jabu Mabuza, the power utility said in a statement posted on its Twitter page: "During the media briefing today on Eskom load shedding, a question was asked, 'What will happen beyond stage 4 load shedding?' The response was that additional stages are in place as a contingency measure to ensure the operability and integrity of the power system (i.e. stages 5 - 8)."
The statement added: "The response was intended to indicate that Eskom will remain in control of the system through these additional contingency schedules."
According to the statement, scheduled load shedding allows critical loads such as hospitals and deep level mines to be managed and allow customers in general to know when they will be shed, as well as preventing a national blackout.
"The response was certainly not to indicate that Eskom is formally planning to implement stages 5 or beyond - but merely to indicate that the necessary contingency planning is in place."
Fin24 previously reported that Eskom and government have started planning for Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding, according to officials who say that there is a race against time to ensure that a national blackout and grid collapse does not happen.
The state power utility said it's doing everything in its power to improve system performance.