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By Devina Haripersad

Senior Business/Finance journalist

Brace yourself: Winter is coming, and so too stage 10 load shedding

A winter horror looms: Stage 10 of South Africa's already-out-of-hand load shedding catastrophe.

South Africans technically hit stage 8 load shedding recently, without even knowing it. According to economists, the country could likely see stage 10 by the time winter rolls around.

Econometrics director and chief economist, Dr Azard Jammine, explained if the nation has already hit stage 8 during peak summer months (where the demand for power is low), we can almost certainly expect the worst during peak winter months when the demand is much higher.

Load shedding explained

Dr Jammine was speaking at the AfriSam Budget Breakdown event held in Parktown on Friday, 24 April 2022.

He explained that South Africa, through Eskom, currently has the capacity to generate 46 000MW of electricity per month.

Of this, it accommodates a regular or planned shutdown of 5 000MW. That leaves the country with around 41 000MW.

ALSO READ: SA technically in stage 8 load shedding despite Eskom saying it’s stage 6

However, due to ailing infrastructure and breakdown, Eskom is seeing between 16 000MW and 22 000MW being lost.

That brings the available electricity down to 24 000MW in a worst-case scenario.

However, peak electricity demand (in summer months) is between 27 000 MW and 33 000 MW.

Hence there is a potential shortage of up to 8 000MW of electricity. This is where Eskom has to shed the load off the grid.

ALSO READ: Stage 8 likely due to ‘Koeberg copy-paste, spaza shop maintenance’

Stage 9 and 10

Jammine said the peak electricity demand increases quite significantly in the winter months, and this could push up the potential shortage, which could hit stage 9 and even 10.

“The negative impact of load shedding can therefore not be underestimated,” he said.

Earlier this year, energy expert at Hohm Energy, Matthew Cruise, during a media interview, also warned that South Africa could potentially see power outages beyond stage 8.

“In July, we have our winter peak demand that takes place, and demand on the grid is between 32 000 and 34 000 megawatts,” he said.

“Just by nature of seasonality, there will be an extra 4 000MW that will be demanded by the nation that will be unmet,” Cruise said.

”If you add that to the current levels of load shedding, it’s clear we’re going to go to stage 8 and beyond – even so far as stage 10.”

SA at stage 8 already

On Tuesday, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said peak feedback showed the utility had implemented 7 045MW of load shedding.

This, according to Eskom standards, equates to stage 8.

A screenshot from eskom.co.za

Stage 7 load shedding allows for up to 7 000MW to be shed.

The 7 045MW which were shed on Tuesday night meant the country was actually experiencing stage 8 power cuts.

ALSO READ: Load shedding: This is what stage 8 would look like

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Eskom SA economy summer winter

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