Responding to media reports, South Africa’s power utility Eskom has boldly stated that the likelihood of reaching Stage 8 of loadshedding is low.
Eskom was responding to an article which claims that municipalities have been informed that stage 8 loadshedding is imminent. The power said this statement “is erroneous and incorrect”.
In a company statement, Eskom said: “In keeping with Eskom’s obligations in terms of the Disaster Management Act, we are required to develop contingency plans for identified major incidents. A Severe Supply Constraint is one of these, for which we have plans in place. Eskom also continually improves these plans.”
The company statement further explained that after 2015, Eskom and the municipalities identified the need to extend the planning in place related to the number of stages of loadshedding and the national code was subsequently updated after significant engagement with stakeholders in 2016/17. “This has been published as NRS048-9 Ed.2 and it caters for 8 stages of load shedding. Each stage provides for a reduction in load of approximately 5% which equates to roughly 1000MW at peak. Stage 8 equates to approximately an 8,000MW deficit. The likelihood of reaching Stage 8 is low,” states Eskom.
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According to the power utility, national power regulator NERSA approved NRS 048-9 Ed.2 as a regulatory requirement in 2019.
Eskom continued explaining: “In compliance with NRS048-9-2, Eskom and most municipal suppliers have developed loadshedding schedules that cater for stages 1 to 8. When Stage 6 loadshedding was implemented in December, not all Metros or Municipalities had published their extended loadshedding schedules. The Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU) therefore engaged most of its members to confirm their compliance to the code – i.e. whether stages 5 to 8 had been published by those Metro’s that had not yet done so.
“As a prudent System Operator, Eskom ensures that its contingency planning addresses several high impact, low probability incidents such as this. This planning is in close cooperation with municipal suppliers, and includes preparedness reviews and simulation exercises (as is standard practice for other incidents such as a nuclear incident or a national blackout).”