This week will see no relief from load shedding and South Africans should brace themselves for severe load shedding beginning this afternoon.
Eskom has announced that Stage 5 load shedding will be implemented today at noon until 9 p.m., when Stage 6 load shedding will be implemented.
Stage 6 load shedding will continue until 5 a.m. tomorrow, when it will be replaced by Stage 5.
According to Eskom: “Stage 5 load shedding will then be implemented continuously from 5am on Wednesday until further notice.”
Eskom stated today that it was forced to implement the higher load-shedding stages due to the failure of six generating units.
“Duvha and Hendrina have not yet returned to service. In addition, a generating unit each at Matla and Arnot had been returned to service. There is a delay in returning a generating unit each at Duvha, Kendal, Grootvlei, and Kriel power stations,” Eskom said.
The news comes against the backdrop of an increasingly shaky economy, with the South African Reserve Bank predicting this week that ongoing electricity supply issues will reduce economic growth to a paltry 0.3% this year, potentially resulting in job losses.
Furthermore, South Africans are facing not only electricity supply shortages but also rising energy prices, as Eskom has been granted permission to impose an 18.65% tariff increase beginning April 1 this year.
The ruling party, ANC, which is facing growing public outrage over the energy crisis, has indicated that it will request that Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration declare a national state of disaster at the struggling power utility in order to end the crisis.
President Ramaphosa made the announcement at the conclusion of the ANC National Executive Committee lekgotla in Kempton Park on Monday night.
“There is clear direction from the lekgotla that we must resolve the immediate task of load shedding within a much shorter time frame than what has been projected, and have set out the actions to achieve that.
“There was talk about a National State of Disaster, like what we did when we faced Covid-19, and there is broad agreement that we should proceed in that direction,” Ramaphosa said.