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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor


‘It’s called load shedding’ – South Africans offer advice amid Britain’s ‘energy blackout’ scheme

Britain will pay some households to use less electricity on Wednesday evening.


South Africans are offering their load shedding tips to the British after their National Grid ESO announced an expected higher electricity demand on Wednesday evening.

This sounds all too familiar to South Africans, who are now alternating between stages 5 and 6 load shedding until Saturday.

Stage 6 load shedding

“Due to insufficient generation capacity and the need to further replenish emergency reserves, Stage 5 loadshedding will be implemented from 05:00 today [Wednesday] until 20:00,” said Eskom on Wednesday morning.

ALSO READ: City Power denies it imposed stage 8 load shedding on residents

“Thereafter, Stage 6 load shedding will be implemented from 20:00 until 05:00 on Thursday. This pattern of implementing Stage 5 load shedding from 05:00 until 20:00 and Stage 6 load shedding from 20:00 until 05:00 will be repeated daily until Saturday morning.”

While the reasons for load shedding have ranged from wet coal to the cold weather and heatwave in South Africa, Britain says the cold weather is to blame.

UK Forecasters have issued yellow weather warnings for showers and snow that will lead to icy patches and “hazardous conditions” on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Wednesday evening. We are activating a live demand flexibility service event between 17:00-18.30 tomorrow,” it announced on Tuesday.

“It does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried. These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

ALSO READ: Load shedding to yo-yo between stages 5 and 6 until weekend – Here’s your schedule

According to Reuters, Britain’s National Grid ESO will pay some households to use less electricity on Wednesday evening due to the expected cold weather conditions.

Households that have signed up with their suppliers under the live demand flexibility are paid for turning off appliances during a specific period when electricity demand is high.

Payment is usually in the form of discounted bills, reported Reuters.

The post-Covid surge in electricity demand and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been cited as the culprits of the global energy crisis.

This has prompted countries to take steps to secure their energy, with the UK implementing the scheme as a trial.

Last year, South Africans slammed Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe for calling on South Africans to acknowledge that the “electricity crisis is a global phenomenon”.

ALSO READ: Eskom’s Kusile Unit 2 comes back online ahead of schedule

“When you explain the crisis to society, South Africans see themselves as an island when the electricity crisis is a global phenomenon,” he said at the time.

While the British will be paid for saving electricity, and the power cuts are optional, South Africans have no say in the matter, but have sent through their sympathies and tips to survive through the dark times.

“South Africans offering advice to the British is just so amazing. Even in pain, we are kind,” wrote Neo Mkwane on X, while Dwayn H Smith commented: “So you following the 17-year-old trend of South Africa then. We have rolling blackouts orchestrated like a well tuned symphony, down to the last second! No one can beat the perpetual blackouts South Africans endure daily, we even have dedicated apps to guide us, so welcome UK.”

ALSO READ: From UK to South Africa, countries face huge energy bills

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