Eskom and government have started planning for stage 5 and stage 6 load shedding, reports Fin24, with officials stating that there is a race against time to ensure that a national blackout and grid collapse does not happen.
South Africa has never experienced higher than stage 4 load shedding, with stage 5 and stage 6 load shedding indicating that Eskom will shed 5,000 MW and 6,000 MW respectively.
Should Eskom decide to escalate load shedding to these schedules, South African residents will be without power multiple times a day (up to six times, or 12 hours), depending on the day’s schedule.
The table below shows how stage 5 and 6 would build on from stage 4 in the City of Joburg:
At the end of 2018, Eskom revised its schedule to include up to eight different stages, with up to 8,000 MW shed from the national grid – effectively doubling the power cut frequency of stage 4.
During stage 8 load shedding, consumers would be without power for 48 hours over four days, or 96 hours in eight days.
Eskom staff are working to assess the breakdowns, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Tuesday (19 March).
The operational issues at Eskom’s plants were compounded over the weekend by a loss of power imports from neighbouring Mozambique, which was hit by a devastating cyclone.
“I know the most important issue for South Africans is how long will this last and when will you be able to give us certainty that load shedding will end?” Gordhan told reporters.
“At this point in time we are still getting a better grasp of the technical problems and other problems that Eskom power stations are confronting.”