HomeBusinessEskom Expected To Implement Up To Stage 10 Load Shedding

Eskom Expected To Implement Up To Stage 10 Load Shedding

Load shedding and logistical difficulties have severely slowed South Africa's core industries of mining and manufacturing, resulting in subdued output since the fourth quarter of 2022.

Eskom Expected To Implement Up To Stage 10 Load Shedding-SurgeZirc SA
Eskom Expected To Implement Up To Stage 10 Load Shedding

This winter, electricity customers should expect up to Stage 10 load shedding, as nearly half of Eskom’s generation capacity is offline due to breakdowns.

On Sunday, Eskom increased load shedding to Stage 6 indefinitely, with breakdowns approaching the maximum threshold of 19 333MW of generating capacity, while 4 524MW was out of service for planned maintenance.

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The last time breakdowns were this high was during the worst of the power outages in February, when 21 243MW went down, while 3 566MW was out for repair.

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Independent energy analyst Lungile Mashele yesterday said Eskom currently had about a 6 000MW deficit, and the power utility could supply only about 25 000MW against the electricity demand of about 31 000MW.

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“I anticipate that during this week, we are going to see Stage 7 and Stage 8 load shedding which we have seen before, but obviously the utility will not communicate it as they typically do, and they will simply say we are load shedding at Stage 6 even though the number hours is much higher,” she said.

Mashele stated that Eskom anticipated a demand of approximately 34 000MW during the winter months of June, July, and August, raising the deficit to a 9 000MW shortfall.

“This will no doubt take us to Stage 9 and Stage 10 load shedding, which is what I’ve been warning about since the beginning of the year, that if nothing is done, we are going to be in a worse position.

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“Now one of the things Eskom has to look at as an urgent intervention is their fleet and how they implement the maintenance that they have planned for.

“These are more operational issues that I would not like to opine on because they are deeply technical. But Eskom needs to communicate – and this is urgent – what their winter plan is going to be.

“The winter plan needs to be communicated by the Eskom CEO and the systems operator, and they need to re-forecast what the demand is going to be. They also need to elaborate on diesel supplies and look at what emergency measures they are going to implement,” Mashele said.

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“And if I were them, I would also just mention that we must anticipate higher stages of load shedding so that when Stage 8 and Stage 10 comes, we are not caught unaware.”

This comes as the National Rationalisation Specifications (NRS) association, the entity in charge of developing load-shedding protocols, is nearing completion of protocols for Stage 9 load shedding and beyond.

The NRS has conducted extensive consultations and expects to submit the updated schedule to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) soon.

This is unprecedented territory, as Stage 6 load shedding implies losing electricity for eight to ten hours per day, while Stage 8 load shedding means losing power for at least 12 hours per day in four-hour increments.

A move beyond Stage 8 would mean not only load shedding, but also electricity curtailment, requiring large energy users to limit their power consumption even further.

This increased level of power outages would be terrible for industry, damaging jobs and the economy.

Load shedding and logistical difficulties have severely slowed South Africa’s core industries of mining and manufacturing, resulting in subdued output since the fourth quarter of 2022.

According to Investec economist Lara Hodes, the industry’s output levels would continue to be affected by power outages.

“Heightened rotational load shedding continues to weigh on the energy intensive manufacturing sector, with activity likely to have fallen by a further 6.2% year on year in March,” Hodes said.

“Business activity remained in contractionary territory, while the new sales orders index recorded its lowest reading since October, last year.”

Meanwhile, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that his department would file an urgent appeal to overturn the high court’s decision on load shedding.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered Gordhan on Friday to “take all reasonable steps” within 60 days to exempt public health establishments, state schools, and police stations from load shedding.

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Gordhan stated that his department is concerned about the court ruling’s consequences for current attempts to stabilise the national grid and pull the country out of load shedding.

“The department has studied the ruling and has determined through legal advice that the prudent step to take is to lodge an appeal to have the ruling set aside and allow for the ongoing efforts to end load shedding to proceed without putting undue risk on the country’s grid infrastructure,” Gordhan said.

“While the department respects the independence of the courts, in this case the department believes that the judgment would have unintended consequences, and undermine the very efforts to balance the protection of the rights that were ventilated in this case, with the need to stabilise and protect our grid infrastructure,” he said.

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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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