The stage 3 load shedding Eskom announced early on Thursday morning is the most severe scenario, aimed at reducing demand by up to 4000 MW, but most big municipal distributers seem quite unprepared for it.
Business owners looking for detailed information on when power cuts will affect them, will in most cases battle to find updated load shedding schedules from their municipalities.
While Eskom stated in a press release that load shedding will continue until 22:00 on Thursday night, it defines Stage 3 load shedding as follows on its website:
“Stage 3 will double the frequency of Stage 2, as well as covering the overnight period from 10pm to 6am, not covered by the other 2 stages. This means you should be scheduled 3 times a day, midnight to midnight, Monday to Sunday.” (Stage 2 is aimed at saving up to 2000MW).
Load shedding schedules on the Eskom website are applicable only to those customers who buy their electricity directly from Eskom. Customers supplied by their local municipality are referred to that municipality’s website.
Moneyweb checked the availability of load shedding schedules on the websites of metropolitan municipalities and found it lacking in most cases.
Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) is the only metro which had a clear link to load shedding schedules on its home page early on Thursday morning.
- The City of Joburg’s load shedding schedule is available here.
- The City of Tshwane’s load shedding schedule is available here.
- Mangaung’s shedule is available here.
- City Power
- Ekurhuleni Metro
- Buffalo City Metropolitan
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
- City of Cape Town
Radio Rosestad quoted an official from Free State electricity distributor Centlec that the electricity supply to the whole Mangayng would be cut from 14:00 to 16:00 on Thursday and from 22:00 to 2:00 on Friday.
A spokesperson at the Mangaung metro told Moneyweb that it has not published load shedding schedules on its website and referred us to Centlec, the power distributor in the area. The Centlec website also did not contain the information. Centlec could not be reached for comment.
Christo van der Rheede, CEO of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut said contingency plans are crucial for businesses. “Businesses should be given notice in advance to enable them to plan and mitigate the effect of power cuts as far as possible,” he said.
A prescribed standard for load shedding contingency plans (NRS048 Part9) has been part of the licence conditions of all distributors, including municipalities since 2010. This places an obligation on distributors to have a load shedding schedule ready and available to all customers, said Charles Hlabela, spokesperson of the National energy Regulator (Nersa).