Eskom: Expert fears ‘Stage 8 load shedding’ coming this winter

Eskom is determined not to be upstaged by COVID-19 - and a senior energy analyst believes there's a 'Stage 8 load shedding spectacular' to come in 2021.

Eskom: Expert fears ‘Stage 8 load shedding’ coming this winter

Earlier on Monday evening, Eskom confirmed that they would be suspending load shedding for the week ahead. However, the relief is likely to be temporary – and the bigger picture looks quite daunting. Ted Blom, a leading energy expert and an outspoken critic of the utility, now firmly believes that STAGE 8 cuts are coming for Mzansi.

Have Eskom been lying about the extent of power cuts?

Blom spoke to the Free Market Foundation’s Chris Hattingh during the latest episode of the Free Marketeers podcast. He claims that Eskom will frequently lie about the extent of their load shedding schedules, implementing Stage 3 cuts disguised as Stage 1 instead. On that basis, Blom predicts that Stage 8 outages could secretly come into effect:

“Eskom is understating the amount of power it’s actually shedding. When Eskom says we are having Stage 1 load-shedding or shedding 1 000 MW, to the economy it is in fact a 3 000 MW shortage. If you add the numbers, it’s the 2 000 MW from the interruptible [factors], plus 2 000 MW from the public, plus the residual for which they are over 2 000 MW.”

“That in fact takes us to about Stage 5 load-shedding… if Eskom was more transparent and honest in its dealings with the public. I feel quite comfortable saying that I will not be surprised that between now and the end of winter we will experience Stage 6 load-shedding, pretty much for certain, and even Stage 8 or above is a possibility.”

Ted Blom

What is Stage 8 load shedding?

Stage 8, the worst-case scenario, allows for 8 000MW to be shed from the grid. This is double the amount allocated to Stage 4. Under Stage 8 load shedding, some suburbs and towns could expect to be left in the dark for up to 12 hours per day – although this amount could vary according to municipal suppliers and allocations.  

This is the closest known stage South Africa could withstand before a complete collapse of the energy grid takes place. In 2018, Eskom first punted the idea of Stage 8 cuts – which were met with derision and anxiety in equal measure. Now, one of the country’s leading energy experts is ‘pretty much certain’ the worst of load shedding is yet to come.

South Africa reached Stage 6 power cuts in December 2019 – the worst single blackout in our democratic history.

Source : The South African More