Cape Town, S.A. | XINHUA | South Africa’s power crisis worsened on Wednesday as electricity utility Eskom escalated the level of load shedding from level two to level four.
This was the highest level of load shedding that has been implemented this year.
Stage-two load shedding allows up to 2,000 MW to be shed, while stage four calls for 4,000 MW to be rotationally cut off.
Under stage-four load shedding, South Africans have to endure unscheduled power cuts at any given time without any warning for close to four hours at a time.
Eskom attributed the escalation to the continuing severe generation supply constraints caused by multiple unit breakdowns as well as the additional demand caused by the cold weather.
Unplanned breakdowns amount to 11,300MW of capacity, adding to the 5,040MW currently out on planned maintenance, according to Eskom.
Staggering under poor management and alleged corruption, Eskom began to implement stage-two load shedding two days ago, the third round of rolling power blackouts since the country enforced the COVID-19 lockdown in late March.
Load shedding will persist throughout the week as Eskom teams work around the clock to return as many of these generation units to service as possible, said the utility, which supplies more than 95 percent of the electricity consumed in South Africa.
This load shedding is necessary in order to conserve and replenish emergency reserves while also maintaining the stability of the power system, said Eskom.
The utility said it will continue to communicate the stage of load shedding should there be any further developments.
“We urge the people of South Africa to help reduce electricity usage in order to assist Eskom to reduce the instance of load shedding,” said Eskom.
South Africa has suffered from electricity insufficiency for more than a decade, with power blackouts having become increasingly frequent in recent years.
Load shedding costs the country billions of rands a day and trillions over the years.