UPDATE: Eskom said it would move load shedding to stage 2 from 17:00.
Cape Town - Eskom will implement stage 1 load shedding from 16:00 to 22:00 on Thursday, it said.
See how you will be affected: GridWatch
Peak evening demand this week is predicted to be far more than the capacity, with Thursday (less 2 703 MW) showing signs of a highly constrained grid, Eskom said on Monday.
Eskom said South Africans could assist in lessening the impact of load shedding by lowering their consumption.
"Every little bit of saving counts in minimising the severity of load shedding."
Medupi's Unit 6 records new output level
Meanwhile, Eskom said Medupi's Unit 6 had reached a new output level of 735 MW generated on Monday. The unit ran for a record of six days and four hours without a trip until 3 May.
This is a significant achievement since its successful synchronisation on 2 March 2015 and indicates that it is closer to achieve the maximum load of 794 MW.
“We are pleased with this significant milestone and believe that power from this unit will go a long way in alleviating the capacity challenges we are facing. We commend the project team for their hard work and level of commitment in these trying times and this achievement gives a strong indication that we are steadily turning the corner in our quest to ease the pressure on the national power grid,” said acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.
Medupi Unit 6 is being progressively commissioned and optimised to ensure that the power it delivers is stable, consistent and reliable. During this testing phase, the unit is not expected to stay on load for long periods of time and will deliver power intermittently, Eskom said.
Testing stops to alleviate pressure on grid
However, during the peak demand periods, testing stops and power is generated to alleviate pressure on the grid. Such calls to alleviate pressure on the grid have seen the unit generating electricity for 147 hours continuously, which also serves to prove Unit 6’s capability thus far, it said.
Medupi consists of six units of approximately 794 MW each, for a grand total of 4 764MW, which is approximately 12% of Eskom’s total installed capacity. Once complete, Medupi will be the fourth largest coal power station and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world.
Unit 6 will progressively be tested and fine-tuned further until the project is satisfied that the systems are fully operable and reliable for final handover. This is also to ensure that the unit is safe to operate, and will perform exactly as designed for the next 50 years.