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As Eskom outlines worsened prognosis, City Power confirms loadshedding schedule review amid ‘Stage 8’ uproar

City Power has denied any Stage 8, but reviews schedule for higher stages of loadshedding

City Power has denied any Stage 8, but reviews schedule for higher stages of loadshedding

27th November 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Having outlined an improving power system prognosis for the working week on Sunday, following the shock implementation of Stage 6 on Friday November 24, Eskom has since reported that the outlook has deteriorated and has declared Stage 4 until 5:00 on Saturday.

A day earlier, a faster de-escalation in the intensity of rotational cuts was forecast, with Eskom indicating that, having reduced loadshedding to Stage 4 from 12:00 on Sunday, Stage 3 cuts would be implemented during the day until Friday, while being ramped up to Stage 4 during the late afternoons to navigate the evening peak and replenish emergency reserves overnight.

On Monday, however, it said that increasing demand, combined with insufficient generating capacity and the need to manage emergency reserves, meant that Stage 4 loadshedding would be implemented for the remainder of the week.  

“Unplanned outages slightly increased from 15 386 MW to 15 424 MW of generating capacity, while the capacity out of service for planned maintenance increased from 5 617 MW to 6 280 MW.

“Eskom’s load forecast for the evening peak demand is 28 123 MW,” the utility said in a statement.

The loadshedding revision, came amid ongoing complaints in certain distribution areas, notably Johannesburg, that the duration and frequency of the most recent Stage 6 cuts had been exceeding those experienced during previous episodes at the same stage.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa insisted that Eskom had not breached Stage 6 over the weekend, and said that City Power would be in a better position to respond to those Johannesburg residents who were complaining that their experience had been more reflective of a Stage 8-type intensity.

The complaints coincided with City Power having assumed responsibility for loadshedding from Eskom, as well as a move by the distribution entity to refrain from implementing four consecutive hours of loadshedding at a stretch. Instead, it said it would limit the outages to two hours, while acknowledging that this could result in more loadshedding episodes over shorter intervals.

The approach was implemented over the weekend, resulting in a social media storm as well as claims that the schedule was not properly implemented.

During an interview on 702, Professor Sampson Mamphweli, who heads the energy secretariat at the South Africa National Energy Development Institute, asserted that City Power “did not implement loadshedding the way it should have been implemented”.

“The country was on Stage 6 loadshedding and City Power, at some point, they implemented what appeared to be Stage 8 loadshedding,” Mamphweli said.

CITY POWER PLANS REVISIONS & APP

However, in an interview with Engineering News, City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava denied that Stage 8 had been implemented but did confirm that there had been several instances where faults had occurred that made it impossible for areas to be reconnected in line with the published schedule.

She also confirmed that City Power was reviewing its implementation schedule for Stage 5 and above, given that the frequent outages associated with the current schedule had proved to be more inconvenient than was the case when loadshedding of four hours was implemented with longer gaps in between.

The revision, which would affect Stages 5 to 8, was currently being assessed by an independent consultant and a new “hybrid” schedule was likely to be implemented in the coming week.

Under the hybrid system, the two-hour limit would be reserved for loadshedding Stages 1 to 4, with longer duration cuts implemented from Stages 5 to 8.

Mashava also attributed some of the confusion over the recent weekend to inaccurate schedules being reflected on the popular EskomSePush App (ESP), which is widely used by South Africans to help with navigating loadshedding.

She said these inaccuracies had been reported to ESP, but that City Power also planned to launch its own loadshedding App in 2024 in an effort to ensure ongoing and accurate communication.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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