Energy experts are accusing Eskom of deceiving the public on which load-shedding stages it is implementing.
In 2023, South Africa suffered the worst load-shedding the country has ever experienced at the start of a year.
Load-shedding has been implemented every day in January 2023. Compare that to a year ago, when there was no load-shedding in January, and the problem becomes clear.
For many days this month, South African households and businesses were hit with stage 6 load-shedding.
Energy experts highlighted that the situation might be even worse than what the load-shedding stages indicate.
Energy advisor Ted Blom and energy analyst Chris Yelland have previously highlighted that Eskom is shedding more power than the reported stage.
Blom was particularly scathing, saying Eskom is deliberately misleading the public by under-reporting the load-shedding stages.
It is easy to understand the frustrations of Blom and Yelland when looking at this year’s load-shedding data from Eskom.
Eskom explains the different load-shedding stages on its website. Here are the load-shedding definitions for Stage 1 to Stage 8.
- Stage 1 allows for up to 1,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 2 allows for up to 2,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 3 allows for up to 3,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 4 allows for up to 4,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 5 allows for up to 5,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 6 allows for up to 6,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 7 allows for up to 7,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
- Stage 8 allows for up to 8,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
The latest Eskom data revealed that the power utility under-reported load-shedding on three days – 12 January, 22 January, and 26 January.
On 12 January, Eskom announced stage 6 load-shedding, but spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said load-shedding amounted to 6,409 MW, which is stage 7.
On 22 January, Eskom said it implemented stage 3 load-shedding. However, it announced that load-shedding amounted to 3,503 MW, which is stage 4.
The same happened on 26 January, when 5,891 MW was shed when Eskom implemented stage 5 load-shedding.
Mantshantsha denied that the figures show that Eskom is deliberately deceiving the public on which load-shedding stages it is implementing.
However, he could not provide details on how much electricity is load-shed per day and why the figures do not align.
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