Pravin Gordhan, Jabu Mabuza and a team of Eskom executives vowed to keep the lights on throughout winter last week. Their guarantee made it five days before the utility issued a warning about the return of load shedding.
Load shedding “likely” to return this week
A promise from Eskom perhaps isn’t worth much these days, but Gordhan did leave the door open for “minimal” disruptions during the next few months. Yet few of us were expecting the blackouts to come around again so quickly. The stricken power giants issued a statement on Monday, explaining why there’s a load shedding warning in place:
“With colder weather conditions expected across the country, the demand for electricity is set to increase and the power system will be tight this week. Three of these days will be ‘extremely tight’, leading to a high risk of load shedding.”
Power cuts “almost implemented” last week by Eskom
Eskom also revealed that there were three days in the previous week which also came close to seeing the lights switched off. They credit the improved performance of Medupi and Kusile – the new builds which have been under a lot of scrutiny of late – for helping to avoid another blackout.
There reasoning does seem a little… hypocritical. Part of Gordhan’s big presentation last week included the fact that power stations perform better in cooler conditions. He even factored this into the winter recovery plan.
Load shedding forecast for this week
So, as it stands, Eskom hasn’t yet confirmed a day of load shedding. But they are on high alert and seem to be preparing for the worst. The utility issued seven consecutive “high risk” warnings last month and after fighting for the best part of two weeks to stay illuminated, they eventually gave in to the relentless demand.
Stage 4 load shedding became the norm for a large chunk of March and preparations for Stages 5 and 6 were also discussed by Eskom. This latest warning comes on the same day that the long-term forecast for load shedding took a bleak turn, as experts now predict power cuts will get much worse over the next 10 years.
You can read Eskom’s full statement here:
#Eskom_MediaStatement : Eskom’s winter plan to minimise loadshedding requires South Africans to use electricity efficiently.@DPE_ZA @GCISMedia @IOL@News24 @TimesLIVE @eNCA @SABCNewsOnline@BDliveSA @EngNewsZA @AntonEberhard @chrisyelland pic.twitter.com/38EXZHK8H1
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) April 8, 2019
Check your load shedding schedule
To check your daily load shedding schedule, go onto loadshedding.eskom.co.za and type either your suburb/village/area into the quick search field.
You can also call Eskom’s customer contact centre at 0860 037 566. If your electricity is supplied via the municipality, you need to refer to the table in this article and contact the relative authorities – either via the web or phone.