Eskom, South Africa’s electricity provider, announced on May 15, 2023 that stage 6 load shedding would begin an hour earlier than expected. This decision was made due to colder weather leading to an increase in electricity demand across the country. This demonstrates how vulnerable the country is to electricity supply and how it could get worse with the upcoming winter months.
Details of the Load Shedding Schedule
The previously announced schedule between stage 6 in the evening and stage 4 during the day will continue. As per the schedule, stage 6 will run from midnight to 5 a.m., with stage 4 taking over from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then stage 6 resuming between 3 p.m. and midnight.
Eskom’s Efforts to Address the Crisis
Eskom has requested customers to switch off non-essential appliances and reduce electricity usage to help manage demand. The company is also currently negotiating with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to increase the diesel allowance for burning fuel, to make up for the lack of electricity supply. Additionally, the Minister of Electricity is planning on utilizing open-cycle gas turbines to power up in case of outages and breakdowns.
Implications for South African Energy Supply
The early implementation of stage 6 load shedding underscores the severity of the energy supply crisis in South Africa. As the cold winter months approach, there is growing concern that electricity supply will continue to be affected by rising demand. Eskom’s efforts to address the crisis will be crucial for keeping the country running throughout the winter. The government must also explore alternative sources of energy to address this ongoing issue for a reliable energy supply.