Photo by Uaren Cassio Ferreira Ribeiro on Scopio

Eskom has unfortunately started implementing load shedding Stage 4 in South Africa from 13:00 Monday afternoon… and Stage 4 is set to last until 05:00 on Friday, after which it will be downgraded to Stage 2 until 05:00 on Saturday.

This comes after the power utility announced on Sunday that it expected to continue with Stage 2 load shedding until Saturday morning. A “major incident” in Zambia was blamed largely for the crisis.

Today, Eskom explained that while it “regrets the escalation of load shedding, it is necessary to ration the remaining emergency generation reserves, which have been utilised extensively this morning as we are not getting the reduction in demand as expected from the implementation of Stage 2 load shedding.”

According to a statement, the additional seven units which were expected to return to service by today have not kicked in, while a generation unit at Arnot Power Station also tripped this morning, contributing to the shortages.

What does Loadshedding Stage 4 mean?

Stage 4 load shedding means that up to 4000MW of capacity needs to be shed. Consumers can expect to be “shed” up to 12 times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time. By ‘shed’, Eskom means the consumer can expect to have their power cut.

Why does South Africa have so many power cuts?

According to a recent episode of Carte Blanche: “The biggest reason for constant #loadshedding is the misappropriation of funds that were earmarked for maintenance and expansion at Eskom.” (You can watch this episode of Carte Blanche on DStv catch-up if you’re in SA, or on Showmax International if you’re abroad in most countries.)

The effect of power cuts on South Africans

Economist Mike Schussler told Carte Blanche that after 14 years of power problems, “the power supply in South Africa is probably the biggest reason why we have a 34.4 % unemployment rate…

He said the power cuts are a big deterrent to investors (both local and foreign) with the country losing up to R600-million in the economy per day with Stage 1 power cuts, and almost R2-billion loss daily with Stage 4.

Customers asked to limit electricity usage

“We remind customers that load shedding is implemented as a last resort to maintain the stability of the power system regardless of the stage of load shedding,” Eskom repeated on Monday.

According to the power utility, the total breakdown currently amounts to 14 874MW while planned maintenance is sitting at 5 579MW of capacity.

Yet again, Eskom said it “would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the implementation of load shedding and requests the public to reduce the usage of electricity to help us through the constraints.”

– Eskom, Carte Blanche and SAnews.gov.za