Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - Eskom said on Wednesday the probability of load shedding would be low until January 13 as demands drop while businesses close for the festive season.

"The probability of load shedding remains low from today until Sunday 13 January 2019. This is as a result of the expected decrease in demand as businesses and industries close down for the festive break," the power utility said.

It warned however that heavy rainfall until March could negatively impact on its generation capacity because coal handling becomes harder.

The company said it is continuing to implement a recovery programme to improve low coal stock levels and the performance of it power plants.

"During the December period, Eskom will intensify its maintenance activities in an effort to improve generation capacity for the return of businesses and industries in the new year. Steady progress has been made with regards to fixing coal stockpiles."

It said it had signed 35 new coal contracts during the course of the year that would ensure the supply of 18.6 megatonnes of coal.

"In preparation for continuous rains, three days of compacted strategic stockpiles have been created at power stations. While we do not anticipate load shedding over the holiday period, local power outages could occur, not as a result of load shedding, but due to technical faults on the distribution network."

The company advised customers to contact Eskom or their municipalities if outages occur, to ensure restoration of service.

Eskom last week escalated its planned outages to Stage 2, which entails taking up to 2 000 megawatts off the national grid, as it battled maintenance backlogs. However, it has not implemented load shedding for the past four days.

African News Agency/ANA