Power utility Eskom has issued an alert urging South Africans to reduce electricity demand as it grapples with constrained electricity supply due to colder weather.
The utility is already load shedding at all-day stage 6 until further notice – any further constraints or a spike in demand threaten to push outages even further.
“Due to the cold weather, we appeal to all members of the public to reduce the electricity demand between 17h00 and 21h00, by switching off non-essential appliances, mainly geysers, swimming pool pumps and electric heaters,” Eskom said.
It noted that the evening peak forecast for Wednesday is 29,609MW, and yesterday’s demand at the evening peak was 33,423MW – far higher than the forecast demand.
“The reduction will continue to assist in alleviating pressure on the system and avoid higher stages of load shedding,” it said.
So far, Eskom has not pushed beyond stage 6 load shedding on a national level – though it has exceeded the 6,000MW “boundary” it broadly attaches to stage 6.
On Tuesday, the group shed over 6,000MW, cutting 6,363MW from the grid.
Technically, this is stage 7 load shedding, according to Eskom’s own definitions; however, load shedding schedules have not pushed up to this stage.
Eskom has explained this away by pointing out that the country is at stage 6 load shedding, with additional capacity shed through load curtailment, which sees industries (and soon businesses and residential areas) cutting demand on a contract basis.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:
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.