Stage 8 load-shedding warnings

Vally Padayachee from the NRS Association of South Africa has warned that the country can go beyond stage 8 load-shedding if serious steps are not taken to rectify the problems at Eskom.

The NRS Association is involved in developing electricity supply and load-shedding specifications in South Africa.

Padayachee’s warning comes after Eskom’s acting head of generation, Thomas Conradie, said they are revising the code of practice, which can extend its load-shedding schedule to stage 16.

Conradie did not explicitly state that they are preparing for stage 16 but confirmed they are working on higher stages than the current peak of stage 8.

He said it is responsible for the new rotational power cut document to cater to higher load-shedding stages.

“The schedules are being developed upfront so that we have a more systematic approach if required,” Conradie said.

He explained that it would avoid a situation where Eskom will need to “jump around” to reduce the load on the grid beyond stage 8.

Padayachee explained that Eskom is reviewing the load-shedding framework to prepare for the prospect of higher stages in future.

It is a proactive measure for Eskom and municipalities to be ready to respond should it be necessary.

He said Eskom’s grid is at a critical stage and that no professional can guarantee that South Africa could not go beyond stage 8 load-shedding.

“The reality is that we could go beyond stage 8 load-shedding if we do not take serious steps to rectify the issues [at Eskom],” Padayachee said.

He said the remedial actions they are putting in place would prevent South Africa from experiencing a total grid collapse and blackout.

“Load-shedding is an excellent management tool to prevent South Africa from going into a blackout situation.”

He said the added measures they are developing would further protect the country from experiencing a blackout.

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter with President Cyril Ramaphosa during a guided tour of Tutuka power station in 2022. Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and energy minister Gwede Mantashe are speaking behind them.

Padayachee’s warning echoes similar warnings from other former Eskom executives.

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has warned South Africans that 2023 is going to be a tough year for load-shedding.

He said South Africans should expect at least stage six power cuts, possibly worse, during winter.

Eskom’s former general manager of system operations, Robbie van Heerden, said South Africa would most likely go to stage 8 during winter.

“People must realise that South Africa is in a very bad situation. Load-shedding will not go away. It will not stop at the end of the year, as promised by Ramaphosa,” he said.

He explained that Eskom’s power stations are in very bad condition because maintenance is not done properly.

“The maintenance at Eskom is pathetic. There are maintenance agreements which have not been done for two years.”

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