Load shedding, the process through which the power utility Eskom deliberately switches off electricity supply to prevent the grid from collapsing, has been increased to stage 6 this week. Eskom had previously announced that stage 3 load shedding would continue until 5:00 am on Tuesday, however due to “delayed return to service” of several generating units, Eskom informed customers that load shedding will be intensified this week.
According to Eskom, load shedding will be increased to stage 4 from 5 am until 4 pm on Tuesday, after which stage 6 load shedding would be introduced and continued until 5 am on Wednesday. Eskom further explained that various load shedding stages would be implemented thereafter.
The power utility identified that the delays in returning units to service, which affects the amount of electricity generated by these units, at facilities including Arnot, Camden, Duvha, Kendal, Kriel, Lethabo, Matimba, Matla, and Tutuka power stations, contributed to the current crisis, resulting in having 17,920MW of generating capacity currently out of operation. Despite these challenges, Eskom stated that its teams are working around the clock to ensure that generating units are restored to operation as quickly as possible.
The utility’s latest announcement came as a surprise to many South Africans, who had become complacent with recent power cuts due to relatively consistent load shedding schedules unadjusted for several months. However, with the unexpected change of pace, it’s time for all consumers to take measures to reduce their energy consumption during these trying times.