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Eskom and load shedding: What you need to know

Load shedding is when there is not enough electricity available to meet the demand from all Eskom customers.

Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has frustrated and angered South Africans again by implementing load shedding.

On Friday, the power utility started with scheduled blackouts across the country.

This is the third time the utility has implemented load shedding this year.

Last week Eskom said it was looking into reports of another weakness found at one of its coal silos at the Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga.

The problems started when a silo collapsed at Majuba.

The collapse led to rolling blackouts across the country on 2 November.

WHAT IS LOAD SHEDDING VS POWER OUTAGE?

According to Eskom load shedding is when there is not enough electricity available to meet the demand from all Eskom customers, it could be necessary to interrupt supply to certain areas.

Load shedding is different from a power outages that could occur for several other reasons and is a last resort to balance electricity supply and demand.

It's an effective way to avoid total collapse of the electricity supply grid (a national blackout) which will have disastrous outcomes for South Africa.

By rotating and shedding the load in a planned and controlled manner, the system remains stable.

TYPES OF POWER OUTAGE:

A transient fault is a momentary (a few seconds) loss of power typically caused by a temporary fault on a power line. Power is automatically restored once the fault is cleared.

A brownout is a drop in voltage in an electrical power supply. The term brownout comes from the dimming experienced by lighting when the voltage sags. Brownouts can cause poor performance of equipment or even incorrect operation.

A blackout (also known as load shedding) refers to the total loss of power to an area and is the most severe form of power outage that can occur.

Blackouts which result from or result in power stations tripping are particularly difficult to recover from quickly.

Outages may last from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on the nature of the blackout and the configuration of the electrical network.

A GUIDE (SCHEDULE) TO LOAD SHEDDING IN YOUR AREA:

Eskom

If your power is supplied directly from Eskom click here to view the schedule.

Johannesburg

For residents in the City of Johannesburg, their electricity is most probably is supplied by City Power.

Click here for the City Power load shedding schedule.

Ekurhuleni

The City of Ekurhuleni provides individual load shedding schedules for various areas in its municipality.

These include Alberton, Bedfordview, Benoni, Boksburg, Brakpan, Edenvale, Germiston, Kempton Park, Nigel, Springs and Tembisa.

Click here for the individual schedules.

City of Tshwane (Pretoria)

For the summer load shedding schedules effective from September 2014 click here.

Cape Town

The City of Cape Town provides a list for its load shedding schedule and a map so you can locate your area number.

Click here for the schedule.

SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONDS

Meanwhile, people took to social media Twitter to vent their frustration with Eskom's latest load shedding:

I really hate you eskom. #loadshedding

Thanks #Eskom. The only company in the world that does NOT want you to use its product. #LoadShedding

And in Nov, Eskom detained a journalist for taking pictures of the damaged infrastructure at Majuba power station #NationalKeyPoints

Eskom and their load-shedding proving once again that the things you really need a government for, they can't deliver #Parastatals

new rule of thumb? for every act of governmental corruption one MEC is fired... for every load shedding event one Eskom Executive is fired

As I was busy shaving my head and beards then #Loadshedding happens. Eskom never loved us. My head is in a mess

Loadshedding!! I hate Eskom! Never had this before!!