Eskom said on Friday that it will escalate rotational power cuts to stage 4 from 2pm on Friday as it battles breakdowns at its generation plants and wet coal due to continued rains, Fin24 reported.

That means the utility will likely cut 4GW from the grid from 2pm until 6am on Saturday, double the 2GW it had removed from 9am on Friday. Eskom began load shedding on Thursday for the first time in a month.

Earlier on Friday, it said that persistent rain on the Highveld in recent days — which is not predicted to stop until the middle of next week — had contributed to the latest load shedding crisis.

“With the incessant rain, we are beginning to experience coal-handling problems at a number of our power stations as a result of wet coal, which has contributed to additional load losses,” the state-owned power utility said in a statement.

“This could further impact supply as the rainy weather persists. While not expected or planned, further deterioration of plant performance or the emergence of other risks may necessitate invoking further states of load shedding,” it said.

Unplanned breakdowns remain above 12.5GW, it said in the earlier statement.  — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media