File photo: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Tuesday said its electricity system was severely constrained but the possibility of load shedding was low. 

"Since the past weekend, plant performance has deteriorated with unplanned breakdowns reaching a high of 12,500 MW before reducing to approximately 11,500 MW as at 10 this morning," the power utility said. 

The utility said with the expected return of several units on Tuesday and Wednesday along with current diesel reserves, the system will remain constrained until at least Thursday. 

Diesel and pumped water storage is being used to keep lights on. 

"We remind customers that any unexpected shift, such as additional unplanned breakdowns or the unavailability of diesel or pumped water storage reserves, could result in load shedding at short notice," Eskom said. 

"Unplanned breakdowns above 9,500 MW require the use of emergency resources at a high rate (diesel and pumped water storage generators) and they increase the probability of load shedding if the supply constraints are sustained for a long duration." 

Eskom said its summer maintenance programme is under way and technical teams were working to keep to schedule and bring back generating units. 

Residents have been asked to use electricity sparingly, switch off geysers as well as non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand. 

"We will continue to keep South Africans informed about the status of the electricity system and our recovery efforts," Eskom said. 

African News Agency (ANA)