Eskom’s Evolving Load Shedding: A Deep Dive into the Proposed Stage 16 Framework

South Africans’ Moment in the Spotlight: Time to Speak Up on Load Shedding Stages

An Invitation to Participate:

The national energy watchdog, Nersa, has flung open its doors to South Africans, inviting them to weigh in on the forthcoming load shedding stages set to be unveiled in November. This move follows Nersa’s unveiling of the draft document on 11 August, with the feedback window drawing to a close on 22 September.

Digital Dialogue Ahead:

Those eager to voice their opinions can mark 2 November 2023 on their calendars. However, a word of caution: you’d need to register your intent by 27 October, 16h30. For those interested, Mr. Walter Mabunda is the go-to person. Here are his contact details for quick access:

Understanding NRS 048-9:

When the dust settles post-hearings, the finalized framework will adopt the moniker: the NRS 048-9 Code of Practice Edition 3. With its roots in the 2010-established NRS048-9 code, the past cap on load shedding was Stage 4, equating to 25% of the base load.

A Revamp in Stages:

The crux of the proposed changes lies in the extension of load shedding stages right up to Stage 16. Yet, the typical South African accustomed to a clear understanding of each stage as a 1,000MW reduction might be in for a slight paradigm shift. Instead, stages will soon resonate as percentages of demand dictated by the System Operator.

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For clarity, here’s a concise breakdown of the stages:

  • Stages 1-4: Shedding percentages span from 5% to 20% of demand.
  • Stages 5-8: It ranges from 25% to 40% with a concurrent increase in load curtailment.
  • Stages 9-16: A marked rise from 45% to a whopping 80% of demand, pivoting to essential loads by the System Operator’s instruction.

These values might seem a tad different to many, with the prior Code of Practice reflecting a “reduction in the load profile of the national non-curtailment load,” not a direct demand metric.

Who Holds the Reins?

Overseeing the challenging task of maintaining equilibrium on the national electrical grid is the National Control Centre (NCC). In the face of high load shedding stages, above Stage 8, the NCC’s prime objective remains clear – safeguarding the grid’s best interest.

Load shedding’s evolution to potentially hitting Stage 16 paints a vivid picture of the country’s power sector’s complexities. With the responsibility of maintaining a stable national grid being monumental, the role of feedback from South Africans becomes even more paramount. After all, the overarching goal remains ensuring the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t from an oncoming load shedding stage.

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