Eskom, Stage 6 load shedding: Will we get a stage 7, 8?

power lines eskom load shedding wilhei pixabay

About R900 billion a day is what Eskom Stage 6 costs the country according to the DA’s latest count, following a breakdown of a generation unit at Medupi Power Station which necessitated Stage 6 load shedding on Wednesday.

Eskom said an update would be provided and that the implemented Stage 6 would shift back to stage 5 on Thursday.

It seems things could get worse according to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa who during a site inspection of a collapsed electric pylon in Pretoria, said Winter would prove a challenge in terms of load shedding.

“Exceptionally difficult winter,” were the words used by the minister which signals a near possibility for higher stages in load shedding.

From bad to worse?

It could get worse considering Summer conditions leave a 6 000 MW deficit while Winter conditions could peak up to 37 000 megawatts in deficit, according to Ramokgopa’s estimates.

Winter spells many challenges for Eskom’s already buckling electricity supply as heaters, geyser, stoves including other electric appliances increase in usage.

Colder weather pushes demand for power, and stage 6 or higher is the the national power utility attempt to curve away from a total grid collapse.

While Eskom announces the implementation of stage 6 load shedding on Wednesday morning, the announcement follows a stage 5 indefinite hike on Tuesday.

The pattern may be on repeat to assist remedy reserves, or in Eskom terms, “until further notice.”

Breakdowns midweek were at 16 772 MW of generating capacity, while generating capacity out of service for planned maintenance had reduced to 5 807MW.

Two generation units were returned to service at Kriel Power Station but power constraints were a result of delays in returning units to service at Camden, Kendal, Lethabo, Medupi and Tutuka power stations.

The country was granted grace of no outages over the Easter weekend.

Eskom quickly defaulted to Stage 3 load shedding on Monday from 5 pm until 4pm on Tuesday.

Then things got worse, as the country sits at more than five hours without power, a crippling reality for the business sector and overall economy.

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