Differing views on winter load shedding

South African state-owned companies have signed the United Nations Global Compact. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
South African state-owned companies have signed the United Nations Global Compact. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town - Eskom does not expect load shedding to occur during winter, the City of Cape Town says yes from 17:00 and then there's Chris Yelland.

The City of Cape Town said on Wednesday Eskom-initiated load shedding can be implemented, stopped or the stage changed at any time, but during winter months the most likely time for load shedding would be from 17:00.

However, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 on Tuesday that Eskom did not expect load shedding to occur during winter, which he pointed out only starts on June 1.

Phasiwe said Eskom’s long-term plan was to reduce planned outages. Because of machines expected to come back online, Eskom, therefore, thinks it will be able to meet winter demand.

“Winter in many households actually starts after April, with some people starting to use heaters as we speak, but officially [it starts] from 1 June,” he said.

“We need on average in winter about 36 000 MW of the 43 000 MW capacity of Eskom’s fleet,” he said.  “So with the machines that are coming back online, we will be able to meet that demand.

“The issue really is to make sure we do have a buffer [of about 2 000 MW extra],” he said.

Energy expert Chris Yelland told Fin24 on Tuesday that, with higher planned maintenance, unplanned maintenance, as well as the winter season starting to affect usage, South Africans should expect more load shedding, more frequently.

Eskom said in a statement on Wednesday there is currently no planned load shedding as it has enough generating capacity to meet the demand for the day.

"However, the power system is expected to be constrained during the evening peak period (5pm - 9pm), mainly due to the increased electricity demand and generating units being out of service due to maintenance."

What's in a name?

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town cautioned residents on Wednesday to take note that Eskom's stage 4 load shedding equates to the City of Cape Town's stage 3b load shedding schedule.

"The reason for the difference in terminology is because Eskom previously advised the Western Cape to implement a stage 3a and 3b for load shedding. However, Eskom recently decided that they would now refer to stage 3a as stage 3 and stage 3b as stage 4," the City of Cape Town said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.  

Eskom Western Cape and the City have decided not to change the City’s current schedule, because residents understand it and the schedule has been made available through various media channels, including the supplement that was placed in community newspapers.

This supplement remains applicable, apart from the terminology change.

According to Eskom stage 1 requires 1 000 MW less electricity usage, stage 2 (2 000 MW), stage 3a (3 000 MW) and 3b (4 000 MW).

Be prepared by checking your schedules on News24's GridWatch.

Also check Cape Town's new load shedding schedule

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