Home South African Eskom rubbishes claims SA could see Stage 16 load shedding

Eskom rubbishes claims SA could see Stage 16 load shedding

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Eskom has moved to allay fears that the country could experience Stage 16 load shedding.

File picture: Pixabay

ESKOM has moved to allay fears that the country could experience Stage 16 load shedding.

It has been widely reported that the approval of new guidelines by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) could mean an almost total blackout, however, Eskom explained that there has not been a need for Stage 8, let alone Stage 16.

Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena said the inclusion of Stage 9 to 16 in the latest revision of the Code of Practice should not be seen as any indication of the state of the power system, but rather as an enhancement of the proactive emergency procedures put in place to deal with various scenarios.

Mokwena explained that the latest version of the NRS048-9 is Revision 3 and that is what Nersa approved.

Graphic: Se-Anne Rall, IOL

She said the Code of Practice was developed by interested parties from across the industry in South Africa and has evolved as the needs for load shedding have changed.

“One noticeable modification over the three revisions has been the adoption and catering for higher stages of load shedding,” Mokwena said.

In practical terms, Revision 3 caters for the highest practical stage of load shedding and this was included in the Code of Practice for completeness and to ensure that load shedding schedules were developed up to the logical last stage – Stage 16.

“The inclusion of Stage 9 to 16 in the latest revision of the Code of Practice should not be seen as any indication of the state of the power system, but rather as an enhancement of the proactive emergency procedures put in place to deal with various scenarios. Indeed, Revision 2 of the Code of Practice catered for load shedding up to Stage 8, something that has never been needed. The highest stage of load shedding implemented was Stage 6,” Mokwena said.

“While the mechanism for the higher stages has been documented and all licensees must develop schedules for these higher stages, there is no indication whatsoever that these stages of load shedding will need to be implemented,“ she added.

Eskom said load shedding intensity and frequency since December 2023 has on average been on a positive trajectory. The country has seen almost two weeks without load shedding.

Mokwena said different licensees – municipalities, metros and Eskom – implement different schedules in compliance with NRS048-9.

She said in many cases, the licensees have adopted the recommended two-hour load shedding blocks that are repeated over a 32-hour period.

At Stage 1, a customer who is scheduled to be loadshed is expected to be shed once in 32 hours whereas at Stage 16 a customer would expect to be shed more frequently in a 32-hour period.

Mokwena said some licensees may take the opportunity to develop new load shedding schedules in line with NRS048-9 Revision 3, however, this is likely to follow the recommended two-hour blocks over a 32-hour cycle. All licensees are now obliged to develop schedules up to the logical end Stage 16.

Currently, no load shedding has been scheduled and, according to Eskom, this is due to sustained available generation capacity and adequate emergency reserves.

Energy expert Vally Padayachee said load shedding is an effective and efficient tool that prevents the country from plunging into total darkness and collapsing the grid.

Speaking to SABC News, he said the introduction of higher stages of load shedding did not signal a blackout.

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