Load shedding pushed to stage 6 indefinitely – and Eskom warns it could get worse

 ·19 Feb 2023

Power utility Eskom says stage 6 load shedding will be implemented continuously until further notice, following the breakdown of more generating units at its power stations.

Since Sunday afternoon, a generating unit each at Arnot, Hendrina, Lethabo and Majuba, as well as two units at Camden Power Station have suffered breakdowns and taken offline for repairs.

Further, two generating units at the Lethabo Power Station were shut down due to coal constraints as the New Vaal Mine that is supplying the station has been unable to deliver the expected amount of coal during the past week because of the heavy rains, it said.

“The three running units are operating at minimum capacity and are at risk of shutdown should the coal supply constraints not be resolved,” it said.

“Given the high number of breakdowns, there is a possibility of further changes on the stages of loadshedding at short notice. A further update will be published as soon as any significant changes occur.”

Breakdowns currently amount to 21,243MW of generating capacity while 3,566W of generating capacity is out of service for planned maintenance.

The return of all-day stage 6 load shedding is troubling, as the weekend sees lower demand – and the country is still  in its summer months, which also have lower demand patterns.

While Eskom has tried to assure the nation and instil confidence that the supply and demand patterns will change and be more favourable as the country approaches winter – due to less planned maintenance taking place – analysts and energy experts have warned that the situation is likely to get worse.

The government, meanwhile, has stymied its own “urgent” response to the ongoing load shedding crisis by effectively putting it on hold until after the Budget Speech this week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced two key measures to tackle the power crisis during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) earlier this month. The first was declaring the crisis a national state of disaster. The second, was announcing a new minister of electricity to tackle to crisis head-on.

However, to date, nothing has been done on either of these fronts. No new regulations have been announced under the state of disaster, and the president himself has reportedly held off announcing changes to his cabinet – including the new electricity minister – until the end of the month.

Eskom and the government have hammered home that there are no quick-fix short-term solutions to the crisis.

South Africans, meanwhile, continue to suffer under the constant outages. Businesses are collapsing, and livelihoods are at stake. South Africa has seen load shedding every single day this year, often at stage 4 or higher.

Load shedding has been implemented on a near-permanent basis since September 2022, and the Eskom board has warned it will likely continue until the supply and capacity issues have been resolved.


For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:

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.

Read: Patience is wearing thin for Ramaphosa: reports

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