Checking your daily load shedding schedule can help you prepare for the rotational cuts that has recently been reimplemented by Eskom.
Load shedding update: Eskom implements Stage 2 load shedding on Thursday 20 August 2020.
Load shedding has made an ominous return. South Africans were spared the brunt of Eskom’s glaringly obvious ineptitudes over the lockdown period, as a direct result of reduced demand. Unfortunately, the national power utility has, as a result of both planned and unplanned maintenance, been forced to implement a series of rolling rotational cuts – much to the frustration of citizens and the economy at large.
For the average citizen, the inevitably of these rotational cuts prove to be disrupting and frustrating. The only solution to mitigate the harsh effects of rotational load shedding is to be well prepared. Daily load shedding schedules, while sometimes not adhered to by the utility, provide South Africans with some semblance of control in an otherwise incontrollable quagmire. Forewarned is forearmed.
The why and the what of load shedding
To understand the daily load shedding schedule and its ever-present irregularities, one needs to understand why load shedding occurs in the first place.
It’s no secret that Eskom is in the grips of an operational and financial crisis. The fundamental causes of Eskom’s failures are well documented and include elements of corruption, mismanagement and disastrous maintenance programmes.
Whatever the causes, the manifestation remains the same: Eskom is unable to meet the nation’s power demands. This inability to supply electricity puts massive strain on the power grid – especially during peak hours, generally from 10:00 until 20:00.
If Eskom, when already at full generational capacity, does not ration certain suburbs to lighten the load, the power grid could suffer a catastrophic failure, resulting in a nationwide blackout which could take days to rectify.
There are four stages of load shedding – with stages 1 and 2 being the most common:
Stage 1 allows for up to 1 000 MW of the national load to be shed. Requires the least amount of load shedding, three times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 3 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 2 allows for up to 2 000 MW of the national load to be shed. Doubles the frequency of Stage 1, which means you will be scheduled for load shedding six times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or six times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 3 allows for up to 3 000 MW of the national load to be shed. Increases the frequency of Stage 2 by 50%, which means you will be scheduled for load shedding nine times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or nine times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.
Stage 4 allows for up to 4 000 MW of the national load to be shed. Doubles the frequency of Stage 2, which means you will be scheduled for load shedding 12 times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight day period for four hours at a time.
Check your daily load shedding schedule
To find out if, or when, your area or suburb will be impacted by load shedding, you first need to know whether your supply of electricity comes directly from Eskom or from the municipality. Let’s deal with Eskom-direct supplied areas first.
Eskom’s load shedding portal provides up-to-date details on the current stage of load shedding, the propensity for further rotational cuts, and an area search for direct consumers. It’s an easy-to-use search function, which, although not always 100% accurate, at least provides a rough estimate of what to expect and when. To check your daily load shedding schedule, go onto loadshedding.eskom.co.za and type your suburb/village/area in the quick-search field.
You can also call Eskom’s customer contact centre at 0860 037 566.
If your electricity is supplied via the municipality, you need to refer to the table below and contact the relative authorities – either via internet or phone.
Contact municipal power suppliers
City Power (Greater Johannesburg)
Ekurhuleni (Gauteng, East Rand)
Telephone: 086 054 3000
City of Cape Town
Telephone: 086 010 3089
Ethekwini (Durban and surrounds)
Telephone: 080 131 3111
Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth and surrounds)
Telephone: 041 506 5555 or 041 506 3111
Telephone: 015 290 2490
eMalahleni (Witbank and surrounds)
Telephone: 013 690 6911 or 013 690 6222
Telephone: 080 022 2827
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