South Africa

Stage 8 load-shedding is here

Eskom data revealed that it had implemented stage 8 load-shedding this week without informing South Africans.

On Tuesday evening, Eskom’s evening peak feedback showed that it had implemented 7,045MW of load-shedding. By definition, it is stage 8 power cuts.

It is the highest level of load-shedding Eskom has ever implemented, but it did not formally announce it in its schedule.

On Sunday, Eskom said it would implement stage 6 load-shedding until further notice.

The additional load-shedding was necessary because of numerous breakdowns.

  • A generating unit each at Arnot, Hendrina, Lethabo and Majuba, as well as two units at Camden Power Station, have suffered breakdowns and been taken offline for repairs.
  • Two generating units at the Lethabo power station were also shut down due to coal constraints.

Given the high number of breakdowns, Eskom warned further changes to load-shedding stages could happen at short notice.

On Monday, Eskom implemented 6,595MW of load-shedding, which equates to stage 7. It was followed by over 7,000MW of load-shedding, equating to stage 8.

Bloomberg asked Eskom for comment, but the company didn’t immediately respond to questions about the higher levels of load-shedding.

It is not the first time Eskom has provided misleading load-shedding information.

Energy advisor Ted Blom and energy analyst Chris Yelland have previously highlighted that Eskom is shedding more power than the reported stage.

Blom accused Eskom of deliberately misleading the public by under-reporting the load-shedding stages.

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.

Using these definitions, the 6,595MW of load-shedding on Monday equates to stage 7, and the 7,045MW of load-shedding is stage 8.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha has previously denied that Eskom is deliberately deceiving the public on which load-shedding stages it is implementing.

However, he could not adequately explain why the load-shedding data from Eskom does not align with the official load-shedding stage.

The table below shows the official load-shedding stage, the reported load-shedding by Eskom, and the actual stage based on Eskom’s definition.

DateEskom stage announcedElectricity shed (MW)Actual stage
15 February 2023Stage 43,907MWStage 4
16 February 2023Stage 43,891MWStage 4
17 February 2023Stage 43,353MWStage 4
18 February 2023Stage 43,484MWStage 4
19 February 2023Stage 43,413MWStage 4
20 February 2023Stage 66,595MWStage 7
21 February 2023Stage 67,045MWStage 8

Eskom evening peak data


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