Why stage 6 load shedding is back – and sticking around for now

Feb 11, 2024 - 10:04
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Why stage 6 load shedding is back – and sticking around for now
Image Credit : BusinessTech

Power utility Eskom says that stage 6 load shedding will stay in effect indefinitely as it tries to return broken-down units back to service.

The group said that ten generating units have been taken offline since Thursday, putting severe strain on the system.

Five of these units were taken offline due to boiler tube leaks, cutting generation supply. In addition to the ten units offline, three units have suffered delays in returning to service after maintenance.

This means a total of 13 generating units are currently offline, necessitating high stages of load shedding.

On top of the breakdowns and delays, Eskom said that it needs to replenish emergency reserves for the week ahead – so stage 6 load shedding will be around until things improve.

The group hopes to provide a more positive update on Sunday.

There is currently just under 17,800MW of generating capacity out due to breakdowns with a further 6,650MW offline for maintenance.

The utility said it is trying to restore at least 2,300MW to service by Monday.

The move to stage 6 marks the first time that load shedding has hit these levels in 2024. The last time the country was at stage 6 was at the end of November 2023.

The escalation also marks a deviation from Eskom’s plan to keep load shedding capped at stage 4, and also flies in the face of messaging from president Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address that the end of load shedding is in sight.

Schedules 

For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:

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.


Read: Eskom expands load limiting in Gauteng

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Phillimon Sefake Phillimon Sefake is a creative writer and literary scholar