File image: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Eskom will implement Stage 1 load shedding on Saturday from 9am to 11pm despite the power utility having promised that there would be no load shedding over the weekend.

But Eskom also vowed there would be no Stage 2 load shedding on Friday – only to escalate it to Stage 2. 

The big question for all Springbok fans is whether load shedding will affect tomorrow's Rugby World Cup quarterfinal clash against Japan just after noon. 

Once again Eskom is hoping outages can be avoided on Sunday but will only make an announcement tomorrow morning.

In a statement released on Friday evening, the utility said the electricity system remains "volatile", with several generation units being out of service.

This was as a result of losing additional capacity lost at the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo,

"Customers should note that some areas may take longer to be restored. If customers experience outages for longer periods than announced, they should contact their supplier (Eskom or the municipality)," Eskom said.

"We will keep customers informed of the status of the electricity system. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience to our customers," it said.

The power utility reintroduced load shedding on Wednesday due to a shortage of capacity following the failure of a conveyor belt, used to carry 4 000 tons of coal, from Exxaro's Grootgeluk Coal Mine to Medupi.

The conveyor belt is expected to be repaired by Wednesday.

From next week – until May next year – Capetonians can no longer count on not having to endure Stage 2 load shedding or worse.

Cape Town has been one of the only places in South Africa to avoid Stage 2 load shedding this week, thanks to the spare generation capacity from the Steenbras dam.

Being the only city in the country that has a dam with hydropower, City-supplied customers have been subjected to only Stage 1 load shedding.

However, according to mayoral committee member for energy Phindile Maxiti, planned maintenance of the Steenbras dam plant starts from next week and is expected to continue until May 2020.

Cape Times