New stage 8 load shedding 'nothing to panic about', says Eskom | Fin24

New stage 8 load shedding 'nothing to panic about', says Eskom

Nov 20 2018 13:21

Power utililty Eskom recently announced that it would be expanding its load shedding plan to eight stages, allowing for up to 8 000 MW to be shed from the national grid. It previously had four stages that allowed for up 4 000 MW to be cut.  

The new schedule is "nothing to panic about", Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae told Fin24 on Tuesday, and the risk of stages 5-8 being implemented was very low.

Load shedding has to date included four stages, which allow for between 1000 MW and 4000 MW of the national load to be shed. 

When load shedding is implemented by Eskom, municipalities cut power to "blocks" according to a published schedule. Eskom also cuts power to customers that received electricity directly from it. As the load shedding stages increase, so does the frequency of the rotational power cuts

The new stage 8 would double the power cut frequency of stage 4.

Mothae said it was "unlikely" that Stages 5-8 would be implemented.

"After 2015, Eskom and the municipalities identified the need to extend the planning in place related to the number of stages of load shedding - and the national code was subsequently updated after significant engagement with stakeholders in 2016/17," she said.

"The Disaster Management Act requires Eskom to develop contingency plans for identified major incidents. A Severe Supply Constraint is one of these, for which Eskom has plans in place. Eskom also continually improves these plans."

The final plans are currently awaiting municipal approval, she added.

Eskom and most metros have already developed load shedding schedules that cater for stages 1-8, although not all metros and municipalities have published these.

* This article was updated at 18:50 on Tuesday, November 20, to remove references to the total length of time that customers can expect to be without power in load shedding stages 4 and 8, which were based on Eskom's guide to load shedding interpretation on its website. The figures will be added again once verified against the latest data from Eskom. 

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eskom  |  load shedding


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