Energy expert Clyde Mallinson said Eskom faces an 11,000MW electricity shortfall during winter, which will result in 2,000MW load-curtailment and stage 9 load-shedding.
Mallinson, a director at Virtual Energy and Power and Clean Energy Projects, first made this prediction during a load-shedding forecast presentation.
Mallinson told ENCA his load-shedding forecast using historical energy availability factor (EAF) and demand data shows a shortfall of up to 11,000MW during winter.
To make up for this gap between demand and supply, Eskom can get around 2,000MW from energy-intensive users through load-curtailment.
These energy-intensive users, like mines and smelters, cannot switch their electricity use on and off because it will crush their businesses.
This is why load-curtailment is used where these businesses reduce their electricity use rather than being switched off for the duration of load-shedding.
The other 9,000MW of the 11,000MW shortfall is gained through stage 9 load-shedding, resulting in households and normal businesses sitting without electricity for more than half the day.
“I hope if we do touch stage 9, it will be for very brief periods, like between 17:00 and 20:00 at night,” Mallinson said.
He urged South Africans to help address the electricity shortfall by not using heaters during cold winter nights.
Professor Mark Swilling, the co-director of the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University, echoes Mallinson’s prediction.
He told ENCA there is no improvement in Eskom’s performance, and as winter sets in, the situation will worsen.
Swilling said South Africans should brace for higher load-shedding stages in winter as electricity demand increases.
Mallinson’s load-shedding forecast also aligns with information shared by other experts, including Electricity Minister Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
Ramokgopa said Eskom faces a shortfall of 8,000MW to 10,000MW in winter, which equates to stage 8 to 10 load-shedding.
Vally Padayachee from the NRS Association of South Africa said that Eskom is reviewing the load-shedding framework to prepare for load-shedding to exceed stage 8 in the future.
It is a proactive measure for Eskom and municipalities to be ready to respond should it be necessary.
“Eskom’s grid is at a critical stage, and no professional can guarantee that South Africa could not go beyond stage 8 load-shedding,” he said.