On Monday, Feb 11, in an attempt to prevent a nationwide blackout and total collapse of the grid which would require days to fix, Eskom implemented stage 4 load shedding after seven generating units tripped. The stage 4 load shedding cut 4000 megawats from the national grid which means we will be scheduled for load shedding 12 times over a four day period for two hours or 12 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time. The frequency of load shedding increases as stages increase. Each time period has an additional 30 minutes added to allow for switching of to prevent damage to the power system. The actual stage in use at the time will be displayed on the main Eskom website.
Eskom had to cut this much power from the national grid, more or less 3000 to 4000 megawats, in 2014 and 2015 which fell under stage 3 load shedding. Eskom assured South Africans that stages 5-8 is highly unlikely, but Eskom and the country’s energy supply are now in unchartered territory.
SA has an installed generating capacity of about roughly 47000 megawats but not all power generating units function at optimal capacity due to age, and lack of maintenance.
How long will this load shedding period last?
Nobody really knows. Eskom is unable to service its debt, R419 billion, and it does not make a profit from selling electricity at the current price levels. SA President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said in his State of the Nation address that ways of supporting Eskom’s balance sheet will be made in the upcoming budget speech.
What does this mean for residents and visitors in Clarens? What is the impact on businesses, the economy and investor confidence?
Comments will be appreciated.