Eskom has issued a warning for the possibility of higher stages of load-shedding due to cold weather and is urging South Africans to switch off non-essential appliances during the evenings.
This comes as the country is already in continuous stage 6 load-shedding — the highest level implemented so far this year — until further notice.
“Due to the cold weather, we appeal to all members of the public to reduce the electricity demand between 17:00 and 21:00, by switching off non-essential appliances, mainly geysers, swimming pool pumps and electric heaters,” said Eskom.
“The evening peak forecast for today is 29,609MW and yesterday’s [Tuesday, 12 September 2023] demand at evening peak was 33,423MW, higher than the forecast demand.”
“The reduction will continue to assist in alleviating pressure on the system and avoid higher stages of load-shedding,” it added.
The demand recorded on Tuesday was close to the peaks seen during the coldest nights of the winter this year.
Higher levels of load-shedding already reached
Eskom has yet to officially announce the implementation of load-shedding higher than stage 6.
According to Eskom’s own website, one stage of load-shedding is equivalent to up to 1,000MW being shed from the grid.
Stage 6, therefore, only allows for up to 6,000MW of capacity to be shed from the grid.
However, the power utility’s historic peak evening statistics revealed that it shed well over 6,000MW from the grid on multiple occasions in the past few years.
For example, on 21 February and 22 February 2023, Eskom shed demand of 7,045MW and 7,092MW, respectively.
By Eskom’s own definitions, that would technically have been stage 8.
Then-Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha acknowledged it was “accurate to say at that particular…, load-shedding was Stage 7“.
Energy analyst Chris Yelland agreed with Mantshantsha’s take, while former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said it was actually stage 8.
However, Eskom’s former head of generation, Thomas Conradie, denied implementing stage 7 load-shedding or higher.
More recently, National Rationalised Specifications (NRS) Association of South Africa chairman Vally Padayachee revealed that the true definition of load-shedding stages is more complicated than Eskom has let on.
He explained that one stage of load-shedding could vary between 800MW and 1,200MW being cut from the grid.
The table below shows the discrepancy between Eskom’s declared load-shedding stage and what stage of load-shedding would actually have been in effect had the utility followed its own rules.
|Date||Load-shedding||Reported Stage||Defined Stage|
|Thu, 1 June||6,684 MW||Stage 6||Stage 7|
|Fri, 2 June||3,967 MW||Stage 4||Stage 4|
|Sat, 3 June||3,978 MW||Stage 4||Stage 4|
|Sun, 4 June||2,042 MW||Stage 2||Stage 3|
|Mon, 5 June||4,553 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Tue, 6 June||3,271 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 7 June||3,136 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Thu, 8 June||2,939 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Fri, 9 June||3,060 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Sat, 10 June||4,091 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Sun, 11 June||3,905 MW||Stage 4||Stage 4|
|Mon, 12 June||3,146 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Tue, 13 June||3,252 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 14 June||3,123 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Thu, 15 June||2,949 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Fri, 16 June||2,912 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Sat, 17 June||3,000 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Sun, 18 June||3,052 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Mon, 19 June||3,161 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Tue, 20 June||3,302 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 21 June||3,397 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Thu, 22 June||3,258 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Fri, 23 June||3,041 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Sat, 24 June||3,044 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Sun, 25 June||3,108 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Mon, 26 June||3,287 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Tue, 27 June||3,218 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 28 June||3,281 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Thu, 29 June||3,121 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Fri, 30 June||3,076 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Sat, 1 July||3,032 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Sun, 2 July||3,184 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Mon, 3 July||3,379 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Tue, 4 July||3,276 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 5 July||3,454MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Thu, 6 July||3,369 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Fri, 7 July||2,795 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Sat, 8 July||2,708 MW||Stage 3||Stage 3|
|Sun, 9 July||3,054 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Mon, 10 July||3,771 MW||Stage 4||Stage 4|
|Tue, 11 July||4,082 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Wed, 12 July||6,432 MW||Stage 6||Stage 7|
|Thu, 13 July||6,929MW||Stage 6||Stage 7|
|Fri, 14 July||6,416 MW||Stage 6||Stage 7|
|Sat, 15 July||6,293 MW||Stage 6||Stage 7|
|Sun, 16 July||4,234 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Mon, 17 July||4,616 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Tue, 18 July||3,198 MW||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Wed, 19 July||4,203 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Thu, 20 July||4,312 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|
|Fri, 21 July||5,272 MW||Stage 5||Stage 6|
|Sat, 22 July||4,199 MW||Stage 4||Stage 5|