Load Shedding Takes a Step Up South Africans, brace yourselves for another jolt in your power routines. Eskom, the nation’s key power supplier, recently announced that they’re ratcheting up load shedding to stage 5. Starting on Monday (11 September) from 22h00, this move is all in a bid to replenish the diminishing storage dam levels and ensure emergency reserves remain intact.
From Midnight to Dawn This stage 5 shift is temporary. It will last from 22h00 until the wee hours of 05h00. After that? It’s back to the now all-too-familiar stage 4, which is, as per the utility’s earlier communication, set to be our companion for the foreseeable future.
Why the Sudden Increase? Several factors are at play here:
- Unexpected losses of some power units.
- Delays in re-integrating others into the power grid.
- A looming shadow: the urgency to add more megawatts online by year’s end.
A Word from the Ministry In a recent press conference, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa elaborated on the situation. According to him, the load shedding saga stems from a “trifecta of issues”:
- A high and erratic demand for power.
- Multiple Eskom outages.
- An increase in planned maintenance post-winter.
However, Ramokgopa does offer a glimmer of hope. He’s optimistic that with the Kusile Power Station soon pumping more capacity into the grid, things might look up by the year’s final quarter. But he also cautioned, “the situation is likely to remain volatile until then.”
“If (planned maintenance) coincides with a number of units failing on their own, then you are exposed. And the only option available to us is intensified load shedding,” he remarked. Emphasizing the government’s commitment, he added, “It’s a calculated risk. We are going to fix these units. It’s a short-term pain for long-term gain.”