Power and mining expert Ted Blom has warned South Africans that they should brace themselves for the worst year of loadshedding yet in 2021, with Stage 8 being a possibility before the end of winter.
In the latest episode of the Free Marketeers podcast, Blom provided his analysis of the utility’s situation and a prognosis for loadshedding in the next year.
The highlights of Blom’s predictions include:
- Eskom is understating the amount of power it was actually shedding from the national grid
- Eskom already interrupts 2 000MW of supply to its big customers when it announces load-shedding for the general public (so Stage 1 load-shedding or shedding 1 000MW is in fact a 3,000MW shortage)
- Eskom is capable of handling about 11 000MW of shortages before having to implement load-shedding
- The utility’s outlook for the next three months in its latest system status report showed a near-consistent unavailability of 20,000MW or more when taking both planned maintenance work and unplanned outages into account
- The deficit over the next three months would hover around 9 000MW
- Based on Eskom’s own forecasts, 2021 is going to be the worst year of load-shedding on record
What happens during Stage 8?
Stage 8 load-shedding is implemented when 8 000MW needs to be shed from the national grid in order to prevent a total collapse of the system.
During stage 8, consumers can expect much more frequent power cuts, to be without electricity for 48 hours over four days, or 50% of the time.
The worst level of load-shedding previously experienced in South Africa was Stage 6, which was implemented in December 2019 after a technical problem at Medupi Power Station.
At the time, Eskom needed to shed 6 000MW, which meant that around 40% of its capacity had been unavailable.
Eskom’s response to the outlook was that “while it endeavours to only load shed at Stage 4 or below and only when truly necessary, higher stages of load shedding could be required”.