Power utility, Eskom, on Tuesday denied reports it had told municipalities to prepare for Stage 8 loadshedding.
The reports are “erroneous and incorrect” Eskom noted.
News of an apparently imminent Stage 8 loadshedding sent shockwaves on social media – and added more justification to those calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa to either fire Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, for – among other things, failing to address endemic loadshedding, or to move Eskom to Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe’s department.
On Tuesday, Eskom sought to set the record straight on Stage 8 loadshedding.
It said that Stage 8 loadshedding is part of a contingency plan for a severe power supply situation, but that does not mean it is planning to implement stage 8 loadshedding anytime soon.
What is Stage 8 loadshedding?
Previously, the loadshedding schedule had only four stages, meant to ‘loadshed’ between 1,000MW and 4,000MW of the national grid. Stage 4 was the worst possible outcome and could result in consumers being without power for a total of 24 hours spread out over four days, or a total of 48 hours over eight days.
However, Eskom revised the loadshedding schedule to include up to eight loadshedding stages. Stage 8 is now the doomsday scenario, which requires up to 8 000MW shed from the national grid. It basically doubles the Stage 4 situation.
During stage 8 load shedding, consumers would be without power for 48 hours over four days, or 96 hours in eight days.
Municipalities are still adjusting their schedules to this new scenario as seen when Eskom first implemented a previously unthought-of Stage 6 loadshedding. Many municipalities still use their Stage 4 schedules for Stage 6 loadsheding.
‘We wont get to Stage 8 loadshedding soon’
“The likelihood of reaching Stage 8 is low,” Eskom assured.
“When Stage 6 load shedding was implemented in December, not all metros or municipalities had published their extended load shedding schedules.
“The Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities therefore engaged most of its members to confirm their compliance to the code – i.e. whether stages 5 to 8 had been published by those Metro’s that had not yet done so.”