A workgroup comprising Eskom, its System Operator, and industry stakeholders is revising the code of practice governing South Africa’s load-shedding stages.
That’s the word from Eskom’s acting head of generation, Thomas Conradie, responding to a question about whether the power utility will extend its load-shedding schedule to stage 16.
Conradie and government representatives were providing feedback on the progress made by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy crisis Committee.
Although Conradie stopped short of confirming that the schedule would go up to stage 16, he confirmed that they are working on a plan for higher stages of rotational power cuts.
Load-shedding is governed by a South African Bureau of Standards document called NRS048–9:2019.
NRS 048 is a collection of specifications governing the quality of South Africa’s electricity supply.
Part 9 is titled “National Code of Practice: Load reduction practices, system restoration practices, and critical load and essential load requirements under system emergencies”.
“The responsible thing is to make sure that this document caters for higher stages of load-shedding, and that those schedules are being developed upfront [so] we have a more systematic approach if we require it,” Conradie told journalists.
This way, he said Eskom doesn’t have to “jump around” to reduce the load on the grid beyond stage 8.
Each stage of load-shedding currently represents 1,000MW of demand removed from the grid.
Therefore, stage 8 allows up to 8,000MW to be cut.
The Eskom System Operator, headed by general manager Isabel Fick, is the entity that monitors South Africa’s grid stability and determines the level of load-shedding.
It issues the order for its clients, such as municipalities and Eskom itself, to reduce demand when necessary.
These clients then cut power to homes and businesses according to their load-shedding schedules, developed in line with NRS 048-9.
Fick told media during a previous Eskom media briefing that they are working with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to develop load-shedding schedules beyond stage 8.
Conradie has revealed that the document superseding the current NRS 048–9 is in draft and will “take some time” to finalise.
Once completed, Nersa must also adopt it, he said.
MyBroadband contacted Eskom to clarify Conradie’s comments and asked if the workgroup was developing load-shedding guidlines up to stage 16.
The state-owned power utility did not provide clarification by the time of publication.