Power utility Eskom says that further improvements in generating capacity has allowed it to suspend load shedding for most of the day on Wednesday.
The group said that load shedding would be suspended from midnight until 16h00 – then jumping back to stage 3 outages until Thursday morning.
The current plan is for load shedding to continue at stage 1 – however, changes are likely to occur.
Eskom has moved from setting a schedule for a few days in advance to providing daily updates with changes as they happen.
Here is the current planned schedule:
Wednesday, 20 September
- Suspended: 00h00 to 16h00
- Stage 3: 16h00 to 00h00
Thursday, 21 September
- Stage 3: 00h00 to 05h00
- Stage 1: 05h00 to 16h00
- Stage TBD: 16h00 to 00h00
Despite the improvements in outages this week, the power utility is unlikely to make much of a dent on the overall load shedding picture this year.
The country has already experienced the worst year of load shedding on record and is on its way to hitting another bleak milestone soon: by mid-October, we will have doubled the number of blackout hours seen in all of 2022.
South Africans have already spent an accumulated 61.5 full days of blackouts in 2023 so far, equivalent to 1,476 hours of darkness.
This already far exceeds the levels of blackouts experienced in the whole of 2022 by some margin (34.6 days, or around 830 hours).
Load shedding in 2023 hit 2022’s total back in May – but now the country is on track to double the 2022 record by mid-October.
The full-year outlook is that the country will see 86.1 full days of blackouts (2,066 hours), equivalent to spending about a quarter of the year in the dark.
However, a 16-hour period with no power outages is a positive turn for the country, given its rarity in the bigger picture.
Load shedding on Sunday (16 September) afforded South Africa a full 18 hours of no load shedding – something South Africa had not seen since March 2023 when the country got a full-day suspension of outages on the public holiday.
It took 180 days before South Africa could enjoy full power for 18 consecutive hours again.
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.