UPDATE: Load shedding stage 6 to return on Sunday, Eskom confirms
Stage 6 load shedding will continue on Monday.
Eskom’s Lethabo Power Station in Free State. Picture: Gallo Images/Business Day/Freddy Mavunda
Eskom has announced that stage 6 load shedding will be implemented from 4pm on Sunday.
The rolling blackouts were briefly suspended by Eskom in the early hours of Sunday due to a lower demand for electricity, before stage 3 kicked in around 7:45am.
“Breakdowns are currently at 18 016MW of generating capacity, while the generating capacity out of service for planned maintenance is 3 987MW,” the power utility said in a statement on Sunday.
While one unit at Kriel Power Station returned to service, others remained offline as a result of capacity constraints.
“In the same period, two other generation units at Kriel and a unit at Matla power stations were taken out of service due to breakdowns.
“In addition, the delay in returning units to service at Arnot, Camden, Kendal and two units each at Hendrina and Tutuka power stations continue to add to the current capacity constraints. The team is working around the clock to ensure that generating units are returned to service as soon as possible.”
Here’s the load shedding schedule:
14 May – Sunday
- Stage 3: 7am to 4pm
- Stage 6: 4pm to 5am
15 May – Monday
- Stage 4: 5am to 4pm
- Stage 6: 4pm to 5am
South Africa, the power utility added, will alternate between stage 4 and 6 load shedding during the same period until further notice.
“Eskom will publish another update as soon as any significant changes occur.”
Stage 6 load shedding has been the order of the day for almost a week.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa had previously warned that this higher stage was likely going to remain in place for some time to come as the winter season edges closer.
Ramokgopa has, however, indicated that it was highly unlikely that South Africa will experience a blackout, as the country continues to battle with the frequent rolling blackouts.
He said there would be higher levels of load shedding, which costs the country an estimated R1 billion a day, if the open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) were not being operated at a much higher rate.
“Load shedding is an instrument that is used to protect the grid and ensure that we remain within the acceptable band of frequency so that demand doesn’t far exceed supply,” Ramokgopa said his weekly media briefing on Friday.
According to the minister, load shedding won’t be solved by the end of the 2023 calendar year.
Load shedding ruling appeal
This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa defended government’s decision to appeal the court judgment that ordered the exemption of key facilities from load shedding.
Answering questions in Parliament, Ramaphosa said load shedding was the last resort.
“Now we are faced with the court judgment and the impracticality of it all. The process of approaching the court through an appeal is to bring to bare a better understanding of the engineering aspects.
“By the way, it is not being done in an arrogant way where we are trying to second guess the court… it is being done to save the grid,” the president said on Thursday.
The Pretoria High Court recently ordered Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to “take all reasonable steps within 60 days” to make sure there was sufficient electricity supply to all public hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations.
The judgment, however, will be appealed by government.