Eskom confirms stage 3 load shedding

Eskom took to Twitter to announce stage three load shedding between 6pm and 10pm this evening.

FILE: This is the third consecutive day that Eskom has implemented blackouts. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has announced that it would be implementing stage three load shedding between 6pm to 10pm this evening.

The power utility made the announcement on its Twitter account:

#PowerAlert: Due to the vulnerable system stage 3 #load_shedding will be implemented from 18:00 to 22:00.

This is the third consecutive day that Eskom has implemented blackouts.

It said it had limited capacity today due to maintenance work being done on several generators.

ESKOM SHORT OF 14,500 MEGAWATTS

Eskom said it was short about 14,500 megawatts due to both planned and unplanned outages, which is why it had been forced to escalate load shedding to stage three.

On average South Africa uses over 30,000 megawatts, meaning the utility was only able to supply about half that amount at this stage.

Several technical faults and maintenance work was also to blame for the rolling blackouts.

But Eskom's Kulu Phasiwe said there was no plan to go beyond stage three.

"We see a lot of demand for electricity from 6pm to 8pm and the risk of going beyond stage three load shedding is not on the cards but one can never say never."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU AND I?

Stage three load shedding indicates that the power system is more vulnerable than ever before and that Eskom needs to shed a total of 4,000 megawatts from the national grid.

A stage three emergency will entail all customers with the exception of certain critical resources, including hospitals.

Eskom has developed a hierarchy of emergency conditions each requiring a specific load reduction stipulated below.

Depending on the severity of the supply constraint, Eskom would declare a stage one, two or three emergency to prevent a national blackout.

Stage one - National shortage of 1000 MW

Stage two - National shortage of 2000 MW

Stage three - National shortage of 4000 MW

Stage one emergency will affect largely residential and commercial loads, whilst stage two would include industrial loads.

The ailing parasatal earlier warned that load shedding is here to stay, until such time that new power stations are online to deal with electricity demand.

The City of Joburg however said it would be launching "load limiting" with the help of smart meters, asking residents to switch off appliances and reduce consumption by a certain percent.

City Power's Sicelo Xulu said this meant they would still have a certain amount of electricity available to them.

The city plans to roll out 150,000 smart meters by October.