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Saturday, 10 February 2024 08:27

End of load shedding may be within reach, but Stage 6 hits SA.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Eskom escalated load shedding to Stage 6 on Saturday, until further notice. Two generating units were taken offline and the utility said it needed to replenish the pumped storage dams in preparation for the week ahead.

The utility pushed through a late-night alert on Friday (9 February) noting that, in spite of returning two generating units to service over the last 24 hours, two generating units were also taken offline.

Eskom generates emergency electricity at three water pumping plants, one near Grabouw in the Western Cape and two in KwaZulu-Natal (near Bergville and near Ladysmith).

During weekends and other off-peak periods, Eskom must pump the water from the bottom to the top dams. This will ensure that there is enough water at peak periods that can flow down the system through the power generators to the bottom dams to generate electricity.

Stage 6 will be in effect from 00h01 on Saturday until further notice.

Eskom said that it would announce any changes as soon as they occur.

The move to stage 6 marks the first time that load shedding has hit these levels in 2024. The last time the country was at stage 6 was at the end of November 2023.

The escalation also marks a deviation from Eskom's plan to keep load shedding capped at stage 4, and also flies in the face of messaging from president Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address that the end of load shedding is in sight.

He explained that regulatory reforms and investment by government had improved energy security in the country.

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.