Avoiding blackouts: How to see how close we are to running out of power

28 September 2022 - 11:00
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Eskom has warned SA could be left without electricity for weeks if load-shedding fails and there is a total collapse of the national grid. File photo.
Eskom has warned SA could be left without electricity for weeks if load-shedding fails and there is a total collapse of the national grid. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda / Business Day

As South Africans continue to battle rolling blackouts, the popular load-shedding tracker EskomSePush has shared a handy tool to find out how close the national power grid is to the “danger zone”.

Homed under the insights tab of the app, the tool shows the current status of the grid, including how much power is needed and how much is available.

It also has a forecast graph to show when the grid is likely to be under the most pressure, and when it may be time to switch off some appliances.

“The power alert makes use of real-time data and takes into account historical loads, current real-time loads, weather conditions, supply and network conditions to forecast electricity demand,” it explained.

When the forecast graph falls into the green zone, there is enough electricity on the grid and no load-shedding is expected. If it falls inside the orange zone, it shows demand is reaching the maximum power Eskom can generate and the chance of load-shedding increases.

Occasionally the forecast may reach the “danger zone”, when there is not enough supply to meet demand and the risk of load-shedding is “extremely high”.

The country is experiencing stage 3 and 4 load-shedding until Thursday.

Eskom has warned SA could be left without electricity for weeks if load-shedding fails and there is a total collapse of the national grid. 

In the guide to the load-shedding process, Eskom said in the event the grid collapses, there would be no time to announce in advance that residents should prepare for a blackout. 

“If preventative measures, including load-shedding, are insufficient, the national grid will collapse. A blackout is unforeseen and therefore the system operator will not be able to make an announcement in advance,” said Eskom. 

“A national blackout will have massive implications, and every effort is made to prevent this from occurring. Depending on the nature of the emergency, it could take a few weeks for the grid to recover from a blackout.”

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said this week there will soon be a restructuring of the Eskom board.

The Sunday Times reported the cabinet had met about a new board.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to use electricity sparingly.

“We must come together as citizens to alleviate the pressure on the national grid. This means using electricity sparingly, reporting illegal connections and paying for the electricity we use.

“Businesses, households and government departments that owe Eskom must pay so Eskom is better able to undertake the critical maintenance needed to keep the lights on.”

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