Electricity workers are shown at Eskom's Medupi power plant. Picture: SOWETAN
Electricity workers are shown at Eskom's Medupi power plant. Picture: SOWETAN

Load-shedding for Monday has moved into stage 4, following the loss of six “generating units”, cash-strapped power utility Eskom has announced. 

Stage 4, which calls for 4,000MW to be shed from the system, started at 1pm, and is expected to continue until 10pm. 

The utility had implemented stage 2 earlier in the day. 

Business Day understands that stage 4 could lead to production losses among large power consumers. 

“Since this morning we have unexpectedly lost six generating units, which has put additional strain on the system,” Eskom said on Monday afternoon. 

Public enterprises spokesperson Adrian Lackay said on Sunday that minister Pravin Gordhan would meet the Eskom board and management to establish what other steps could be taken to give South Africans greater certainty about power supply.

The utility is in a dire financial position and sits with a debt burden of R419bn, which it is unable to service from the revenue it earns. It is also straining to keep the lights on, with multiple breakdowns of its old plants due to neglected maintenance, and substandard construction work contributing to problems at its new plants, notably Medupi.

There has also been a significant push-back from business and labour over Eskom’s application for tariff increases for the next three years of 17.1%, 15.4% and 15.5%, respectively.

Ramaphosa, during his state of the nation address (Sona) last week, announced that Eskom would receive financial support from the state, the details of which will be announced in finance minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech on February 20.