Stage 2 load shedding to be implemented again on Thursday.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Power utility Eskom has announced that it will again implement load shedding on Thursday night during peak demand hours.
As was the case since Monday, stage 2 blackouts will hit South Africans between 17h00 and 22h00 on Thursday evening.
While a generation unit each at Kusile and Tutuka Power Stations was returned to service overnight, a generating unit at Lethabo Power Station was taken off for repairs, Eskom said.
Two more generation units are expected to return to service on Thursday afternoon. 2,379MW are offline for planned maintenance, but 15,365MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.
Eskom said the onset of winter has seen increased demand and this will lead to capacity constraints throughout this period, particularly during the evening and morning peaks.
"Unfortunately, this would generally require the implementation of load shedding during the evening peaks," it said.
Eskom urged all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly, especially between 05h00 and 09h00 in the mornings and 16h00 and 22h00 in the evenings.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Ekurhuleni
- City of Tshwane
- City of Cape Town (PDF)
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- Buffalo City
For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on loadshedding.eskom.co.za.
Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.
Meanwhile former Eskom consultant Mathew Cruise expects electricity prices to double over the next five years as the state power utility continues to struggle to keep the lights on.
Cruise, the former consultant, and current campaign manager for solar provider Hohm Energy, told Relifwe Moloto at CapeTalk that while Eskom has forecast roughly 61 days of load shedding over winter, given how many days in May have already been load shedded, that figure appears optimistic. Already, the 61-day figure equates to load shedding roughly every third day.
The consultant predicts that the price of electricity will double over the next five years, as will load shedding. Cruise said that in 2021, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) hiked electricity prices by an average of 17.9%. He said this will take place every year – "you will have a more than inflation-based increase for Eskom…and then the municipalities will also want an increase," he said. In 2022, the average increase in electricity is 17.1%.
Cruise said that if you have an average increase of 15% over the next five years, "it actually effectively doubles the price of electricity". "If you are paying R2,000 for electricity now, you may be paying R4,000 in the next five years."