Eskom, South Africa primary electricity supply company, has issued a stern warning about the potential escalation to Stage 7 or 8 load shedding on Wednesday evening. This warning comes in the wake of the already implemented indefinite Stage 6 load shedding earlier this week.
Also read: Cold, dark weekend ahead as stage 5 returns
South Africa Stage 7 or 8 load shedding
The country was hit by a cold front on Tuesday, which has significantly increased the demand for electricity during peak hours, specifically between 17:00 to 21:00. Eskom’s forecast for Wednesday evening’s peak was initially set at 29,609MW. However, the actual demand on Tuesday evening, at the onset of the cold front, surged to a much higher level of 33,423MW. With the cold front spreading even further, there are concerns that Wednesday’s demand could reach similar levels.
Current State of Eskom’s Installed Capacity
At present, nearly half of Eskom’s installed capacity is unavailable due to unplanned breakdowns and ongoing maintenance work. On Wednesday, Eskom cautioned that if electricity demand is not reduced during peak hours, load shedding could potentially escalate beyond Stage 6.
The Importance of Reducing Electricity Usage
Reducing electricity usage during peak hours would alleviate pressure on the system and help “avoid higher stages of load shedding,” according to Eskom.
Breakdowns and Outages: A Closer Look
Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena revealed that unplanned breakdowns were around 16,200MW and planned outages exceeded 5,000MW. This totals to just over 21,000MW out of Eskom’s installed capacity of 44,000MW (excluding independent power producers).
*Please note that this article’s headline has been updated for clarity.