Stage 3 Load Shedding
What is Load Shedding?
Load shedding is the act of intentionally turning off electricity for periods of time in certain areas to reduce the demand on the national power grid. This method is used when the national power supply is unable to meet the demand for electricity. It is typically implemented in stages, depending on the severity of the shortfall.
The Different Stages of Load Shedding
There are five stages of load shedding- Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5 and stage 6. Each stage represents the increasing severity of the electricity shortfall. Stage 6 has the most severe electricity shortfall and therefore requires the most amount of load shedding.
What is Stage 3 Load Shedding?
Stage 3 Load Shedding is a more severe form of load shedding than Stage 1 or 2. It means that the national electricity supplier, Eskom, needs to shed up to 3,000 Megawatts of electricity at any given time. This corresponds to approximately 10% of the country’s total electricity usage.
Why Stage 3 Load Shedding is Implemented?
Load shedding at Stage 3 occurs frequently in South Africa when there is a shortage of electricity supply due to several factors, such as:
1. Maintenance Shutdowns: Eskom conducts regular maintenance shutdowns on their power stations to ensure their proper functioning. However, they can result in a reduction of electricity supply when multiple plants are down at the same time.
2. Unplanned Shutdowns: This is a situation when a power station suddenly goes offline, resulting in an immediate reduction of the electricity supply.
3. Increased Demand: During peak demand periods, such as during winter or summer, there is a greater demand for electricity. Eskom may struggle to meet this higher demand, resulting in Stage 3 load shedding.
What Happens During Stage 3 Load Shedding?
When electricity is shed, it is done in a rotational pattern in different areas across the country. This means that the power will be turned off in certain areas for a determined period of time, usually between 2 – 4 hours, before being restored. However, this can also vary depending on the severity of the shortfall.
During Stage 3 Load Shedding, it is essential to conserve electricity in any way possible as the electricity supply is severely limited. Some ways to conserve electricity are:
- Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances
- Use gas or stove-top cooking
- Set air conditioning and heating to moderate temperatures
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs