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Get ready for another 52 weeks of heavy load shedding as Eskom forecasts dark days ahead

Get ready for another 52 weeks of heavy load shedding as Eskom forecasts dark days ahead
Illustrative image | Sources: Protesters march on 25 January 2023 in Cape Town. South Africa faces another year of extensive load shedding according to Eskom. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | Domestic appliances plugged into an electrical extension port. (Photo: Dwayne Senior / Bloomberg via Getty Images) | iStock

Another ‘perfect storm’ has edged South Africa closer to Stage 7 power cuts. And the forecast doesn’t look good for 52 weeks. 

South Africa has been nudged toward Stage 7 load shedding, as Eskom’s planning hit a second perfect storm this week.

Eskom’s revised estimates of unplanned outages have increased astronomically week-on-week according to its latest system status report uploaded to its website.

The Cabinet’s statement on Thursday that more intense load shedding will be short-lived is not borne out by the data. 

The data contained in Eskom’s latest system status report for Week 36, indicates that more than 2,000MW of capacity will be short for the next 52 weeks. 

The planned risk scenario for the next 52 weeks, taken directly from the Week 36 Eskom system status report, looks vastly different from the previous Week 35 report. Essentially, three stages of load shedding have been added to Eskom’s unplanned outage assumption in a week.

In its system status report for Week 35, the power utility had seemingly planned for breakdowns to average 13,000MW to 15,000MW over the following year. However, Eskom now assumes unplanned outages (breakdowns) are likely to average 16,000MW for the next 52 weeks. 

Eskom load shedding forecast

Eskom’s latest weekly system status report, indicating that more than 2,000MW of capacity will be short for the next 52 weeks.(Screenshot: Eskom)

Eskom load shedding forecast week 35

Eskom’s weekly system status report for the previous week (Week 35). (Screenshot: Eskom)

Icy temperatures, multiple generator breakdowns and increased planned maintenance created another perfect storm at Eskom this week, which has seen South Africa skirting Stage 7 power cuts. 

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa in mid-July, said a brutal cold front had caused the national grid to teeter as a result of a similar combination of soaring demand, plummeting generating capacity and increased breakdowns. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ramokgopa blames ‘perfect storm’ for bumped-up blackouts, but says ‘lessons’ were learnt – here they are

On Tuesday evening, the power utility implemented Stage 6 power cuts “until further notice,” following the delay in returning units to service and amid a cold front which caused electricity demand to spike. This showed how tenuous the national grid still is despite commitments to the contrary by Eskom and Ramokgopa.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Electricity Minister Ramokgopa’s report card after six months on the job has been less than electrifying

Stage 6 allows for up to 6,000MW of the national load to be shed. During evening peak on Tuesday, the utility shed 6,362MW from the grid.

load shedding

A general view of Cape Town during loadshedding on 29 September 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

On Wednesday, Eskom urged South Africans to lower their electricity demand during the evening peak, to “assist in alleviating pressure on the system and avoid higher stages of load shedding”. 

“Due to the cold weather, we appeal to all members of the public to reduce the electricity demand between 5pm and 21:00, by switching off non-essential appliances, mainly geysers, swimming pool pumps and electric heaters,” it said in a Tweet. 

It signalled a remarkable escalation in the deterioration of Eskom’s ability to supply South African households and businesses with power, after a week that had not been much better

Read more in Daily Maverick: Shedding some light on Eskom’s eight stages of grief and pain

According to Eskom, Stage 7 load shedding means that up to 7,000MW needs to be cut from the national grid. Eskom explains that this means consumers can expect to be shed up to 12 times over a four-day period: three times for two hours and nine times for four hours.

Eskom has been asked to respond to the 52-week forecast, and this article will be updated accordingly. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Josie Rowe-Setz says:

    Is there a reason why we do not get reasonable notice now as opposed to before so we could plan?
    It seems always last minute now. Why cannot we have decent (and reliable) notice as we did before? It is bad enough being blacked out but we used to be able to plan a bit which helped. Now, its chaos

    • Smudger Smiff says:


    • coetsergp1 says:

      Incompetence and total lack of rational planning.
      They are trying to service more units then scheduled knowing very well they can’t service and bring back on line those units.
      Remember the elections next year. They think that by generate enough energy to implement stage 2 or 1 by end of the year, as they promised, leading to the elections next year, they will not loose more votes.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    This article confirms that we have been permanently lied to. The Minister of Load Shedding is totally unnecessary and should be fired. The cost saving could be used to mitigate some social challenges.

    • coetsergp1 says:

      Agree with you.
      I am sure by December there will be a bigger problem. Bonuse pay out, less staff to do the maintenance, extremely high diesel cost….

    • Annie Conway says:

      The anc is incapable of truth. They lie even when there is nothing to be gained. Double-crossing the bridges as they go along. Insanity!

  • Why do we have an Minister for Electricity unneccesarry expenses . Just to tell us that he can’t do anything .

  • John Baker says:

    The short notice and frequent changes regarding blackouts is indicative of a move to heavier unplanned maintenance taking resources away from planned maintenance. ESKOM will shortly introduce a new concept called panic maintenance,

  • Marcel Henry says:

    The “perfect storm” can be (locally) defined as: The coming together of an indecisive leader with poor management and technically incompetent staff together with a gang of tsotsi’s siphoning the Eskom budget”.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    There is no “perfect storm.” Instead there is moronic incompetence by fools who have no answers. Just about every reader of this esteemed journal has said the same for the past few years, but the final course of action has been… nothing. Ramokgotso has achieved precisely zero.

  • Craig A says:

    Here’s a strange thing…. I got solar 3 months ago so I use no Eskan’t power during the day, A month ago I went pre-paid. This month’s accounts is one of the highest ever! So it seems that you are doomed to pay regardless of whether you use Eishkom or not! And as for trying to call them or email them, forget it.

    • Mario de Abreu says:

      Someone has to pay for those millions of shack dwellers using free electricity and free water. My moms account has not been read in months, they prefer to use an “”estimated”” consumption which is way higher than what the poor woman uses. Calls by her for thee morons to come and read the mater fall on deaf ears. A Rates and electricity boycott is the only action that will get their attention.

  • Willem Boshoff says:

    I do believe Andre de Ruyter stands vindicated.

  • Robin Naidoo says:

    Every state entity has been has been destroyed by the government. Eskom, Transnet, SABC and SA Airways. Why not let the private sector run Eskom and within a short space of time it will become profitable. The bloated staff will be trimmed and the expenses reduced.

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