Eskom has announced that it will downgrade load shedding from stage 3 to stage 2.
During a media briefing on Thursday, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter confirmed that load shedding would drop to stage 2 from 12pm.
De Ruyter also said load shedding was also expected to end on Friday morning.
“We will maintain stage 2 load shedding until 5 o’clock tomorrow morning and we will be in a position to lift load shedding as by then the system will have sufficiently recovered that we can continue operate and meet normal demand,” he said.
What are load shedding stages?
There are currently four stages of load shedding (reportedly). However, Eskom has made provision for stages 6 through to 8 as well.
We’ve unfortunately experienced stage 6 already – with stages 1 and 2 being the most common – which were developed based on the possibility of risk “and to ensure load shedding is applied in a fair and equitable measure”, Eskom explains.
Each of the time periods has an additional 30 minutes added to allow for switching of networks in a way that will not damage the power system, and the frequency of load shedding increases as higher stages are used.
Stage 1 allows for up to 1,000MW of the national load to be shed. This is the “cosiest stage”, for lack of a better world. Outages will be implemented three times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or three times over an eight day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 2 allows for up to 2,000MW of the national load to be shed, and doubles the frequency of stage 1. Outages will be implemented six times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or six times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time
Stage 3 allows for up to 3,000MW of the national load to be shed. This stage increases the frequency of stage 2 by 50%, so outages will be implemented nine times over a four day period for two hours at a time, or nine times over an eight day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 4 allows for up to 4,000MW of the national load to be shed. Outages will be implemented 12 times over a four day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 6 and 7
Stage 6 is the highest we’ve ever been shed, the dark and dreary month of December 2019. At stages 6 and 7, Eskom sheds 6,000MW and 7,000MW respectively, which means power cuts will be scheduled over a four-day period for four hours at a time.
The dreaded stage 8 doubles the frequency of stage 4, meaning Eskom will shed 8,000MW and residents will be in the dark up to six times a day, or 12 hours depending on the schedule.
It’s safe to say that South Africa will be plunged into chaos if we ever reach this point. Hospitals and critical infrastructure will struggle to remain functional, while the extended outages will also disrupt the economy.
Most citizens will be without electricity for prolonged periods, looting and crime will escalate and food production will be severely halted.
Additional reporting by Cheryl Kahla