Eskom has confirmed that load shedding will be upgraded to Stage 4 from 4pm on Thursday.
The power utility had initially announced that it would be implementing Stage 2 load shedding from 4pm until 12am on Wednesday as well as Thursday.
However, Eskom has since made a few changes in light of its shortage of generation capacity, coupled with the higher demand due to the colder weather.
Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 5am to 4pm on Wednesday, while Stage 4 will come into effect during the evening peak period between 4pm until midnight.
“It is anticipated that Stage 2 will be implemented at 5am to 12am on Friday,” Eskom said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
The power utility explained that the implementation of load shedding would “assist in recovering emergency generation reserves, which have been utilised extensively to meet the increased demand over the last few days”.
“The delay in returning a generation unit to service each at Arnot, Koeberg and the Kusile power stations, as well as the unplanned breakdowns of a generation unit each at Camden, Grootvlei, Lethabo, Majuba, Medupi and two units at Hendrina power stations, have exacerbated the capacity constraints,” Eskom said.
Eskom further warned that load shedding could be extended into the weekend despite some generation units being anticipated to return to service over the next few days.
“While the return of Unit 2 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station is anticipated for Friday night, should there be further delays, or other unit breakdowns, load shedding might have to be extended into the weekend.
“Eskom will promptly communicate any further significant changes. We currently have 2,931MW on planned maintenance, while another 15,040MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” the utility added.
More easy-to-implement tips for those looking to ensure their safety when the lights go out:
- Put the proposed load shedding times somewhere handy so that your family will have enough time to prepare for the power outage.
- Get a few high-wattage solar powered lights for your garden, and a few LED lights for inside. Light is a deterrent to would-be burglars.
- Keep your cellphone charged, or invest in a portable phone charger, so that you can still call for help if you need to.
- If you need to manually open and close your gates when you get home, try to have someone come and meet you at your entrance, or arrange for an escort from your security company.
- Use padlocks, burglar bars and deadbolts to provide an extra level of home security that isn’t power-dependent.
- Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates generally rely on electricity so make sure that these items all have good backup batteries.
- Keep a torch or a solar, battery powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of spare batteries.
- Your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power overnight if you do not open and close it repeatedly. If you’re worried about certain food items, prepare an ice-box for these.
- Make sure that all appliances – especially those that pose a fire risk if left unattended – are switched off when load shedding starts and gradually turned back on once power returns. This not only minimises the pressure on the grid when the power is turned back on, but also minimises the risk of damage to appliances due to power surges, or a fire risk causing a power outage to turn into a catastrophe.