Power utility Eskom says that load shedding will be pushed up to stage 4 during the day after three more units went down overnight.

Stage 4 load shedding will now be maintained throughout the day, instead of dropping back to stage 2 as previously planned.

On top of the loss of the units, the escalation is also due to the need to replenish the emergency generation, Eskom said.

Another update will follow this afternoon.

Thursday, 31 August

  • Stage 4: 00h00 to 00h00

Friday, 1 September

  • Stage TBD

The escalation of load shedding due to unit losses follows a similar measure on Tuesday (29 August) when the utility was forced to alter its scheduling abruptly – the first time in weeks.

At a media engagement last week (24 August), acting CEO Calib Cassim said that the utility has been aiming to keep the load shedding schedules as stable as possible so businesses and South Africans can better prepare and plan their lives around the outages.

The utility has slowly been improving overall performance and has even managed to suspend outages for a time during periods of low demand.

However, the sudden changes serve as a reminder that the grid remains extremely volatile and the company continues to operate on a knife’s edge.

When asked how long South Africa will continue living in this situation – waiting each day to hear whether load shedding will be up or down, off or on – Cassim said the situation should improve in 2024.

More generating capacity is expected to return in the last few months of 2023, with the return of three units at Kusile and several other interventions on the demand-side yielding results. However, it’s in 2024 that many new projects will be coming online.

Until then, South Africa will have to continue dealing with load shedding and the ever-present possibility that things can change at any time.

The group is still aiming to improve its energy availability factor (EAF) to 65%, a “stretch goal” for March 2024. However, it is still battling to push the EAF to 60% – March 2023’s target.

Eskom also still faces an uphill battle financially, with the group reporting a R5 billion loss in the first quarter of its financial year ending June.

While profitability ratios performed better than expected, the group said it is still experiencing several challenges that are preventing it from achieving long-term financial sustainability.

“Eskom’s profitability remains hampered by poor long-term financial sustainability arising from an inadequate tariff path, poor generating plant performance and escalating arrear municipal debt,” the committee heard.

Eskom’s municipal debt has skyrocketed to R63.7 billion as at 30 June 2023.


For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:

For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on loadshedding.eskom.co.za.

Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.

Source: businesstech.co.za