Power utility Eskom has escalated load shedding once again, as the group’s emergency reserves and generating capacity fell short.
Due to insufficient emergency reserves and generation capacity as a result of four units not returning to service as planned, stage 4 load shedding was implemented on Wednesday morning from 02:31.
Stage 4 outages will continue until further notice.
The group had previously intended on keeping load shedding on rotation between stage 1 during the day and stage 3 at night, but was forced to increase this to a rotation of stage 2 and stage 3.
The escalation in load shedding comes amid warnings from analysts as well as government officials that the grid remains unstable.
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said on Sunday that power cuts had to be ramped up this week to replenish emergency reserves after Eskom lost a “cluster” of units from different power stations across the country.
“If we had not experienced that, of course, you would not be seeing the kind of intensity of load shedding that we are experiencing,” he said.
Independent energy analyst Pieter Jordaan warned that Eskom’s unplanned outages had entrenched above 30% in recent weeks, meaning any failures – or increased demand – would result in an escalation of load shedding.
Eskom’s system outlook has forecast code red load shedding for the next 52 weeks, meaning South Africans should expect outages at stage 2 and beyond at least.
Meanwhile, the group’s executive has expressed their intention to cap load shedding at stage 4 over the coming months – which will require unplanned outages to be kept under control.
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.