Sunday 14 May 2023


SOUTH Africans should brace themselves for the possibility of being plunged into the worst darkness ever since the start of load shedding, as load shedding up to stage 16, meaning an unspecified 32 hours of power cuts, is anticipated to avert the total collapse of the grid owing to mounting demand.

A document titled “voluntary” NRS048-9 edition 3, which would in unforeseen emergency circumstances allow Eskom to implement drastic load shedding beyond stage 8, is currently being finalised by the National Regulatory Services Association of SA, a voluntary association assisting with regulating load shedding.

Confirming the document, Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena said its guidelines would be implemented only if there were emergencies threatening to collapse the grid, something that might be possible during winter.

NRS membership comprises energy suppliers including Eskom, municipalities, and regulators.

When asked if the country should expect worst-case scenarios such as the possibility of the power grid facing total collapse and requiring load shedding above stage 8, Mokwena said the safety of the grid could not be guaranteed.

“But with what we are seeing in terms of how the system is behaving, the current system does not show that we can go to that stage,” she said.

NRS management committee chairperson Vally Padayachee, a former group executive in Eskom’s generation division, has justified load shedding as necessary to prevent the catastrophic consequences of a blackout owing to total grid collapse because of possible high demand in the future.

NRS is yet to send the draft document to the National Energy Regulator of SA for “legal mandating consideration”. However, once it is approved, it will become a legal licence for all electricity utilities, including Eskom and municipalities.

Mokwena said this document allowed for load shedding to be implemented up to stage 16.

Nersa spokesperson Charles Hlebela declined to comment. IOL


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