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What is stage 4 load-shedding and how will it affect you?

11 February 2019 - 17:46 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Eskom has announced plans for stage 4 load-shedding this week.
Eskom has announced plans for stage 4 load-shedding this week.
Image: 123RF/rasslava

Power utility Eskom on Monday announced stage 4 load-shedding due to "continued pressure" on the national grid - and this is how it will affect you.

Stage 4 load-shedding, according to Eskom, calls for 4,000MW to be rotationally shed nationally. In practical terms, this means you're going to lose your electricity for twice as long as you would under stage 2, where 2,000MW must be shed.

According to Eskom’s Schedule Interpretation website, stage 4 load-shedding means customers have their electricity switched off 12 times over a four-day period. This is "double the frequency" of shedding than in stage 2, where customers lose electricity six times in four days. Comparatively, under stage 1, customers have their power cut three times over four days.

In each stage, the load-shedding lasts two hours at a time - although some users are affected less frequently over a four-hour period.

Eskom also warned that the load-shedding time periods could be 30 minutes longer. This is to ensure the power system isn’t damaged when electricity is switched on or off.

"Most customers (those in two-hour blocks) may therefore be without electricity for up to 2.5 hours at a time, while customers in four-hour blocks may be without electricity for up to 4.5 hours at a time.

"Eskom will begin load-shedding customers at the start of the period (for example, from 6am) and will have all scheduled customers switched off within the first half hour (that is, by 6.30am).

"At the end of the period, after the two/four hours (that is, by 8am or 10am as applicable), Eskom will start returning power to customers and should have them all back within half an hour (that is, by 8.30am or 10.30am)," said the power utility.

EE Publishers' investigative editor and managing director Chris Yelland said stage 4 was implemented to balance supply and demand.

"To make it less inconvenient, they don’t switch everybody off. They switch off areas on a rotational basis," said Yelland. "It’s happening because supply is not adequate to meet demand."

Yelland added that stage 4 affected more people than the lower stages. "The higher the stage, the more people are affected," he said.

"The impact of load-shedding is obviously the inconvenience for the customers and the economic impact on business."