Energy

New Eskom stage 9 to 16 load-shedding details

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has published a consultation document detailing a revised load-shedding approach that allows for up to stage 16 power cuts.

The NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply document provides load reduction practices, system restoration practices, and critical load and essential load requirements under system emergencies.

NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply – Quality of Supply: Code of Practice has been published for public comment.

After finishing all consultation processes, the document will be reworked as the NRS 048-9 Code of Practice Edition 3.

It will then replace the current Edition 2 standing code that Eskom’s System Operator uses to define load-shedding stages.

The biggest change in the latest version of the NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply document is that it allows for higher stages of load-shedding,

The NRS 048-9 Code of Practice Edition 2 allows up to stage 8 load-shedding, whereas the third edition allows up to stage 16.

The document also proposes load-shedding stages enabling the System Operator to give instructions to reduce demand based on a percentage of the country’s national non-curtailment load.

Under the current regime, one stage of load-shedding is supposed to equal up to a 1,000 MW demand reduction, regardless of the total load at the time of its implementation.

Stage 2 allows for up to a 2,000 MW demand reduction, stage 3 permits up to 3,000 MW, and so on.

The revision proposal allows the System Operator to demand that power distributors drop their demand by between 5% and 80%, depending on the declared load-shedding stage.

At stage 1, the reduction required through load-shedding will be 5% of non-curtailed demand.

For each stage of load-shedding that follows, distributors will be required to reduce their load by a further 5%.

Each load-shedding stage will also determine the percentage of load Eskom’s load curtailment customers will have to cut. This will be based on curtailment customers’ normal demand profile.

The table at the bottom outlines the proposed reductions in load under each load-shedding stage for general and load curtailment customers.

How the new load-shedding stages will impact load-shedding schedules and power cut periods is unclear.

It appears as though each stage under the new approach will require cutting more load than the current stages.

South Africa’s winter peak demand typically ranges between 30,000 MW and 32,000 MW. 5% of that demand would work out to a demand reduction of 1,500 MW to 1,600 MW.

Even in the period of lowest electricity demand – during the December holidays – the effective reduction will be higher.

During this time, Eskom typically sees demand hovering between 23,000 MW and 24,000 MW, 5% of which would work out to 1,150 to 1,200 MW.

This adjustment would also mean that comparing Eskom’s historical load-shedding stages to future load-shedding will become extremely challenging, if not impossible.

For example, stage 2 load-shedding currently allows for cutting up to 2,000 MW of load from the national grid.

Under the new regime, it will mean between 2,300 MW and 3,200 MW is shed, equal to the power cut between stage 3 to stage 4 load-shedding.

In a worst-case scenario, stage 16 load-shedding will see a reduction of between 18,400 MW and 25,600 MW of non-curtailed load.

Nersa has given the public and relevant stakeholders until 22 September 2023 to make submissions on the document.

New load-shedding stages

The table below outlines the proposed reductions in load under each load-shedding stage for general and load curtailment customers.

Proposed demand reductions under NRS 048-9 Electricity Supply Edition 3
Load-shedding StageReduction through load-sheddingReduction through load curtailment
Stage 15% of demand10% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 210% of demand10% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 315% of demand15% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 420% of demand20% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 525% of demand30% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 630% of demand30% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 735% of demand40% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 840% of demand40% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 945% of demand50% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 1050% of demand50% reduction in normal demand profile
Stage 1155% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator
Stage 1260% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator
Stage 1365% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator
Stage 1470% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator
Stage 1575% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator
Stage 1680% of demandReduction to essential loads or as instructed by System Operator

Source: MyBroadband

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