Nica Richards
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
18 May 2021
3:56 pm

Stage 1 load shedding tonight, and possibly for the rest of winter

Nica Richards

Load shedding is expected to be the norm during the winter months, due to consistent evening peak periods between 5pm and 10pm. 

Eskom announced stage 1 load shedding. Picture: iStock

Load shedding has been reduced to Stage 1, and is expected to kick in from 5pm to 10pm on Tuesday night, power utility Eskom said. 

This as “further improvement in the power system” has been experienced, owing to an additional generation unit returning to service.

Another unit is expected to return later on Tuesday, which is expected to further increase generation capacity. 

Cold winter ahead

Eskom did however reveal that the return of load shedding is expected to be the norm during the winter months, due to consistent evening peak periods between 5pm and 10pm. 

“Should there be any further deterioration in the generation capacity, load shedding may be necessary, most likely between 17:00 and 22:00 during the winter period,” Eskom’s statement read.

This morning, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha tweeted that seven generation units returned to service, “helping to ease the supply constraints, for now”.

However, he added power outages can be expected during the evening peak usage periods for the rest of winter.

With an ageing generation fleet, plant breakdowns have become a relatively common occurrence in South Africa. With the supply margin being tight already, any further serious or prolonged breakdowns will in all likelihood lead to more load shedding.

Wage talks ongoing

On Monday, Eskom said a second round of wage talks with unions was going “well” after it had tabled a proposed 1.5% increase at the Central Bargaining Forum.

“The talks are progressing well so far,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha briefly told The Citizen on Tuesday without divulging more information.

ALSO READ: Eskom’s doing its best to avoid winter load shedding – De Ruyter

The power utility’s offer to unions is far below what the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and trade union Solidarity are demanding.

The NUM and Numsa want a 15% wage hike for all non-managerial employees, while Solidarity called for a 9.5% increase.

The wage talks began earlier this month and are expected to conclude on 3 June 2021.