loadshedding eskom winter

Here’s how Eskom will handle loadshedding this winter

Andile Sicetsha - 26.05.2021

The gist of it is, it’s going to be one helluva cold winter.

In the 11th hour, Eskom announced that it would plunge South Africa into stage 1 loadshedding between 17:00 and 22:00 on a cold winter’s evening.

Eskom reveals loadshedding winter plan

The statement was released at 16:30, only half an hour before the start of the two-to-four hour rotational power cuts. However, much earlier in the day, the state-owned power utility had warned of an evening with no lights or electric heat.

In its first alert, released on Wednesday morning, Eskom revealed that about 13 400MW was unavailable due to breakdowns at numerous power stations.

By this evening, the number had increased to 14 719MW lost to rusting power generation units.

This level of uncertainty over the state of the power grid has left many with a great deal of concern over the outlook of this winter, a cold and wet season that demands increased levels of electricity.

Last week, Eskom teased a bit of information on how it would handle, under ‘normal’ circumstances, loadshedding in winter. With no way to mitigate the public’s electricity usage, the power utility revealed that it would target evenings as the set period for loadshedding.

Around this time of the year, households often demand higher usage of power, with the reintroduction of electrical heating systems. Eskom understands this and its plan is to target this peak as the only time it will implement power cuts.

However, this is only the case if loss of capacity is not too drastic.

“We are currently experiencing high evening peaks, which is typical of the winter period. Should there be any further deterioration in the generation capacity, loadshedding may be necessary, most likely between 17:00 and 22:00 during the winter period,” Eskom confirmed.

On the outlook for the rest of this week, the power utility said:

“Should the generators not return as expected, further loadshedding might be required during the week.”