Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza address the media. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says South Africans are only likely to experience stage 1 load shedding until August, but this plan will only be implemented as a last resort. 

Gordhan, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe and board chairman Jabu Mabuza briefed the media on Wednesday on the progress of the power grids stability. 

Gordhan said the challenges facing Eskom are better understood. 

Mabuza said coal supply issues and the quality have been improved. 

According to Gordhan, the plan for the next five months of winter, until August, is to avoid load-shedding through improving the energy availability factor. The other plans are to execute proper maintenance to reduce plant breakdowns, energy-saving initiatives and regular communication with stakeholders. 

Eskom's possible scenarios for winter include;

  • Scenario 1 - No load-shedding less than 9 500MW. Unplanned outages and 3 000MW to 5 000MW planned outages 

     • Scenario 2 (Maximum of 26 Days of stage 1 load-shedding). Above 9 500 MW and 3000MW to 5000 MW planned outages  

Eskom's first scenario will only be achieved under the following plan; 

  • Increasing supply • Kriel Unit 2 (475 MW), 18 Apr Matla Unit 5 (575 MW), 

     • Non-commercials: Medupi 2 and Kusile 2 (1200 MW) 

     • Effort to bring Kusile 3 diesel supply measures: money approved and released on time 2. Improved plant performance as a result of cooler weather 3. Cahora Bassa imports back at full load (additional 300 MW)   

South Africans have survived about two weeks without a threat of load-shedding following two weeks of stage 4 load-shedding and stage 2 load-shedding at night.  

Hadebe said Eskom was able to avoid power cuts because of the increased power supply. 

He said the power utility planned to avoid loadshedding until December or limit it to stage 1 loadshedding through maintenance plans. 

The Eskom board has approved about R49 billion for maintenance over the next 10 years and about R4 billion will be spent on fixing issues at Medupi and Khusile power stations.