Energy expert Adil Nchabeleng says Eskom has decided not to inform the public when it exceeds stage 6 load-shedding and that we are already experiencing much higher stages.
South Africa has experienced the worst-ever load-shedding this year, and many stakeholders are warning people to prepare for a dark winter.
Even Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has warned that South Africans should brace for a cold winter that may include stage 8 power cuts.
However, Nchabeleng argues that the country is already experiencing load-shedding exceeding stage 6.
“Eskom has made a decision to cap its announcements at stage 6 load-shedding, avoiding announcing stage 8 or higher load-shedding,” he said.
“They are giving us the impression that everything is oscillating around stage 6, which is a lie. It is beyond stage 6 when considering the frequency of power cuts.”
“We are sitting at a minimum of 12 hours of electricity cuts on a given day, and they are blanketing out major areas.”
He said Eskom manages its communications regarding the load-shedding stages it announces to avoid social unrest and related problems.
While Eskom manages its load-shedding communications carefully, the system is at crisis levels, with around 50% of the generation capacity unavailable.
Nchabeleng added that the growing electricity shortfall puts the country at a higher risk of a total blackout and that many companies are preparing for this scenario.
The table below shows cases where Eskom exceeded 6,000MW of load-shedding, which equates to stage 7 and stage 8 load-shedding.
However, Eskom denied exceeding stage 6 load-shedding. It explained that during these days, it implemented stage 4 load-curtailment to limit load-shedding to stage 6.
|Date||Eskom stage announced||Electricity shed (MW)||Actual stage|
|20 February 2023||Stage 6||6,595MW||Stage 7|
|21 February 2023||Stage 6||7,045MW||Stage 8|
|22 February 2023||Stage 6||7,092MW||Stage 8|
|23 February 2023||Stage 6||6,061MW||Stage 7|
|13 April 2023||Stage 6||7.072MW||Stage 8|
Higher stages of load-shedding in winter
Vally Padayachee, chairman of the management committee of the NRS Association of South Africa, said it is likely that the country will experience higher stages of load-shedding in winter.
“We will more than likely experience load-shedding beyond stage 6 in winter,” Padayachee told SABC News.
He previously explained that there is no guarantee that South Africa will not go beyond stage 8 load-shedding considering the strain in the grid.
As such, they are developing new “NRS 048 part 9” standards to accommodate load-shedding beyond stage 8.
The first NRS 048 standard covered load-shedding up to stage 4, and the second edition, released in 2017, extended it to stage 8.
The third edition of the standard is now developed to cover higher levels of load-shedding to protect the grid when there is an electricity shortfall of more than 8,000MW.
“We are providing formalised guidelines that would assist national control and the system’s operator in avoiding errors when they go beyond stage 8,” he said.
He added that these load-shedding standards protect the country against a total grid collapse and blackout.
Padayachee said the likelihood of a total blackout is very low because Eskom uses load-shedding to mitigate a grid collapse.
“Load-shedding is an excellent management tool to prevent the country from going into a blackout,” he said.
He added that Eskom’s national control room and the municipalities are doing a fantastic job with load-shedding to avoid a blackout situation.