Power utility Eskom escalated load shedding to stage 4 on Friday (18 November) following further breakdowns at its stations.
Stage 4 load shedding is in effect from 05:30 on Friday morning until further notice, it said.
“Breakdowns amounting to 17,056MW of generation capacity, low pumped storage dam levels and lack of diesel are the reasons for the increase in load shedding,” it said.
The load shedding schedule was previously on a cycle of stage 2 during the day and stage 3 in the evenings.
South Africans are facing the prospect of increased load shedding at higher levels over the next year as Eskom prepares to pull its most reliable power station offline for critical maintenance in December.
The station’s unit, which produces over 920MW of energy, is only planned to return to service in the middle of 2023.
Meanwhile, Eskom continues to struggle with breakdowns while a number of key units are offline after various critical failures. The group warned this week that over 3,000MW are at risk of remaining offline over the next 12 months.
The utility’s outlook for the next year is bleak.
In its best-case scenario for the country, it envisions only seven days of load shedding in the summer period, but this is only if it is able to keep breakdowns below 13,000MW – something it has been unable to achieve so far – and is allowed to spend billions of rands on diesel – something it simply cannot afford to do.
If breakdowns persist above 16,000MW, as is currently the case, high stages of load shedding can be expected every month.
This year has been the worst year of load shedding on record, and analysts say that 2023 is set to be worse.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Ekurhuleni
- City of Tshwane
- City of Cape Town (PDF)
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- Buffalo City
For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on loadshedding.eskom.co.za.
Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.