South Africa

Eskom denies implementing stage 8 load-shedding

Eskom’s head of generation, Thomas Conradie, has denied implementing stage 8 load-shedding despite the power utility’s data showing that it cut over 7,000MW from the grid.

On 21 February and 22 February, Eskom’s peak evening data showed that it implemented load-shedding of 7,045MW and 7,092MW, respectively.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said it was “accurate to say at that particular time last night, load-shedding was stage 7”.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland also confirmed that Eskom exceeded stage 6 load-shedding. “More stage 6 load-shedding that is really stage 7. Sikonathi is quietly telling the truth to power,” he said.

Former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said the power utility technically implemented stage 8 load-shedding this week, as any cuts above 7,000MW are stage 8.

However, Eskom has now backtracked on Mantshantsha’s comments and denied that it exceeded stage 6 load-shedding.

Conradie said in a press briefing that “we have not introduced stage 7, stage 8, or any higher stages of load-shedding”.

He explained that they manage supply and demand. “When we run out on the supply side, we have to manage demand,” Conradie said.

He said there are various levers they can use to manage demand.

  • Load-shedding – It is a controlled process where electricity is cut in parts of the country for specific periods during the day.
  • Load-curtailment – Eskom asks its biggest clients to reduce their electricity usage.

“We have only introduced up to stage 6 load-shedding thus far,” Conradie said, adding that it is not an exact science.

“Where we have seen higher than 6,000MW load-shedding, we have also introduced stage 4 load-curtailment.

It can provide Eskom with up to 1,000MW, depending on the demand of those customers when it is implemented.

“I can clearly state that we have not had load-shedding band creep or that we have introduced higher stages of load-shedding without notifying the public,” Conradie said.

Conradie explained that the 7,045MW and 7,092MW of load-shedding on 22 and 23 February is a combination of stage 6 load-shedding and load-curtailment.

The table below shows the official load-shedding stage over the last seven days, Eskom’s official evening peak load-shedding data, and the actual stage per definition.

DateEskom stage announcedElectricity shed (MW)Actual stage
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
22 February 2023Stage 67,092MWStage 8
23 February 2023Stage 66,061MWStage 7
24 February 2023Stage 65,434MWStage 6


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