But summer is going to be touch-and-go, Eskom officials say.
Last night Johannnesburg residents got a taste of things to come when large swathes of the city were plunged into darkness.
Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger was adamant that the outage was not as a result of loadshedding but rather a problem at municipal level.
Engineering operations director at City Power Louis Pieterse confirmed there was a technical fault at a substation at City Deep. He said it might be weather-related.
Earlier yesterday, Eskom said there would be no load-shedding for the next two days.
Despite this, some suburbs in Randburg experienced power failures for most of yesterday and into last night.
According to Eskom, the national grid would be under pressure well into February as power-generation units go offline during unscheduled maintenance and Eskom battles to keep the Majuba power station running.
The unscheduled maintenance, said an Eskom spokesman, was because the power stations are old and the older they get, the more problematic they become.
This means load-shedding remains a real possibility and South Africa could experience a repeat of 2007-2008 when electrical supply was intermittent for three months. According to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, that load-shedding cost the economy as much as R50-billion.
Eskom said that the Majuba power station was generating 1200MW of electricity yesterday, following the collapse of a coal silo on Saturday that had reduced the supply to 600MW and led to power cuts in many metros, including Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Johannesburg on Sunday.
Trucks were now having to drop coal at a rate of 15 to 16 loads an hour to keep Majuba going, according to Thava Govender, Eskom generation group executive.
The power added back to the grid by Majuba meant that South Africans were unlikely to see any load-shedding today, Eskom said.
But from tomorrow pressure will once again be on the grid as water reserves in peaking plants will have been depleted. Peaking plants use pumped water to generate electricity during periods of high demand.
“The interim solution of using trucks to carry coal at the station would bring 1800MW online. But this left the country short of 1800MW,” said energy analyst Chris Yelland. “Taking out 1800MW from a constrained system is problematic. Eskom is using every trick in the book but it is not going to find the missing 1800MW out of the blue. The power is not going to be available.”
He said there is going to be a general shortage of power for years to come.
Medupi power station is expected to come on line only in 2018. The Kusile power station is also four years late.
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union said power outages could psychologically affect matric pupils, who are writing final exams.
“We know the majority of children might be used to studying by candlelight. But for the pupil who is not used to it or has never done it before, it adds undue strain and pressure,” general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said.
The union will meet the Department of Basic Education to discuss the impact of load-shedding.
Department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga urged pupils to prepare for outages.
The standardisation body Umalusi would take into account the power crisis when standardising the matric marks.
Parktown Girls matric pupil Thaakirah Savahl said she, her brother and cousin had used a headlamp to study on Sunday night, when a blackout left her house in Midrand in darkness for three hours.
“I got a headache. I couldn’t see. I missed studying trigonometry and lost 21 marks in the exam.”