As our country faces high stages of load shedding, there’s a lot of buzz about Eskom’s plans to prepare for schedules beyond Stage 8. Don’t worry, though; Eskom has taken steps to reassure us that a country-wide blackout isn’t in the cards.
On Sunday, we enjoyed a brief respite from the escalating load shedding stages that have been plaguing us since mid-2022. For a few hours, we were down to Stage 1 before the higher stages returned. While we anticipated rotating Stage 4 and Stage 5 load shedding throughout this week, Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena announced on Monday that only Stage 4 would continue, thanks to some recovery in the generation capacity.
Here’s the latest update: Eskom has confirmed that load shedding will ease to Stage 3 from 5am on Wednesday morning until 4pm in the afternoon. However, Stage 4 is expected to return on Thursday. According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s annual report, 2022 marked the first year where most load shedding occurred at Stage 4. Unfortunately, it seems this trend will continue into 2023.
Now, you might have heard experts warning that we could reach Stage 8 during the high winter demand in the coming months, with load shedding lasting 12 to 14 hours a day. Naturally, this has led to a surge in enquiries about what Stage 8 might entail.
In response, Eskom has expanded the load shedding framework document to include higher stages, providing reassurance that Stage 8 isn’t the final stage before a network collapse. According to Eskom, higher stages of load shedding (beyond Stage 8) won’t result in a country-wide blackout; instead, the same philosophy will be applied as with previous stages, where demand is matched to supply in a controlled manner to maintain network stability.
On a brighter note, the City’s load-shedding protection plans are making progress. These plans aim to safeguard residents from the first four stages of Eskom’s load shedding within three years and protect them from frequent high stages. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that “the three-phase procurement for load-shedding protection reached several milestones this month. The largest procurement – a 500MW tender to buy power on the open market – is on track to open on March 29.”
In the meantime, stay informed and be prepared, fellow South Africans! Let’s hope for more positive developments in our ongoing battle against load shedding.