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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

What is the likelihood of stage 6 load shedding?

Under stage 6 load shedding, South Africans will be without electricity for as much as eight hours a day.

With severe power constraints and a shortage of diesel, Eskom has announced that stage 4 load shedding, instead of stage 5, will be implemented continuously until 5am on Tuesday.

Eskom said stage 2 load shedding will then be implemented daily at 5am until 4pm.

On Sunday, the ailing parastatal said changes in the stages of the deliberate power cuts will be more erratic citing high levels of breakdowns and the depleted emergency generation reserves.

“Due to the absence of the buffer that is normally provided by the diesel generation capacity between generating unit breakdowns. Eskom will publish a further update as soon as there are any significant changes.”

Load shedding

Just hours after it announced the suspension of load shedding, Eskom implemented stage 4 load shedding from 5pm on Sunday until 4pm on Monday.

Thereafter, Eskom said it would shift from stage 4 load shedding to stage 5 during the evenings between 4pm and 12am from Monday to Wednesday.

The power utility also said it had 5 354MW on planned maintenance, while another 14 495MW of capacity was unavailable due to breakdowns.

ALSO READ: Load shedding: Eskom and government promise to ‘find’ money for diesel

Stage 6

The last time South Africans endured stage 6 power cuts was in September 2022.

Under stage 6 load shedding, power needs to be shed from the country’s electricity system, leaving many without electricity for as much as eight hours a day, though that may be split into blocks of two hours.

This means the grid will need to shed 6 000 MW of power to keep the national power grid from collapsing, which will leave the state-owned power utility starting additional and unscheduled power cuts wherever it needs to, and outside of its schedules.

Urgent Eskom meeting

On Sunday, Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan convened an urgent meeting with the ailing parastatal’s board members after Eskom said it had run out of cash to buy diesel, and does not plan to order any more until 1 April 2023.

Eskom’s board committee had recently met with power station managers and the generation capacity management team to get a better understanding of the situation at the country’s power stations.

“We are urgently working with National Treasury and Eskom for it to find the money to buy supplies of diesel,” the Department of Public Enterprises said.

No Eskom response

After a few requests, Eskom was mum on the ramping up of load shedding to a higher stage. At the time of publishing, there was no response from spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha on whether the utility had enough generation capacity to avoid implementing stage 6 load shedding at short notice.

ALSO READ: City Power: Substation explosion affects several Joburg north suburbs

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