An hour after announcing that it would conduct maintenance without load shedding on Wednesday, Eskom tweeted that power cuts would in fact start at 08:30.
The cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg have yet to indicate if their residents will be spared from the cuts.
The power utility tweeted at 07:55 that it “regrets to announce that stage 1 load shedding will be implemented from 08:30 to 22:00 today”.
“This is due to increased electricity demand and a shortage of generation capacity resulting from low diesel levels at our open cycle gas turbines,” it said in a statement shortly afterwards.
Just 55 minutes earlier Eskom said the power system was currently stable, “and this will enable Eskom to perform maintenance without load shedding”.
At the time it said that the power system is expected to be constrained during the evening peak period mainly as a result of increased electricity demand.
“As we are currently experiencing cold weather conditions across the country, we urge electricity users to consider energy efficient ways of keeping warm.
“In winter the electricity demand peaks in the morning and evening as more electricity is used during these times. We appeal to all our customers to continue to reduce their electricity usage throughout the day but to be aware of the need to save more during the peak periods from 06:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 21:00.
“Commercial customers, particularly shopping centres and office blocks, can also make a big difference by switching off non-essential lights and not leaving office equipment such as photocopiers and computers in standby mode after hours.
“Eskom will provide regular updates on the status of the power system through all the media platforms.”