Stage 5: Prepare for Christmas lunch by open fires and braais as waves of load shedding continue

Some businesses closed during load shedding in Sea Point Main Road. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Some businesses closed during load shedding in Sea Point Main Road. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 12, 2022


Cape Town - As waves of rolling blackouts continue with no end in sight, prepare for Christmas lunch by open fires, braais and shop-bought puddings.

This as Eskom announced that load shedding would remain on Stage 5 indefinitely as a result of unusually high demand over the weekend and breakdowns at three power stations.

While the load shedding burden continues indefinitely, there have been growing calls for the public to do its part to reduce power usage, and reliance on other services, to help ease the impact of Eskom’s load shedding as power supply remains critical.

On Saturday, an Eskom spokesperson said load shedding was escalated to Stage 5 until further notice due to unusually high demand and the breakdown of a generating unit each at Hendrina, Kendal and Kriel power stations.

In addition, Koeberg Unit 1 was shut down for six months of planned refuelling and routine maintenance.

The shutdown was scheduled to take place on Thursday, but was delayed to allow time to stabilise the system and the recovery of some generation capacity as Stage 6 had been implemented for the fourth time this year.

Giving an update, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the interventions he announced in the country’s electricity crisis plan were under way but that this was a process.

He appealed for South Africans to understand the government was not sleeping on the job and all hands were on deck.

“Eskom keeps me awake most of the time,” Ramaphosa said.

He would be having a meeting with ministers to look at further interventions that could be made to resolve Eskom challenges.

Ramaphosa said the government was committed to bringing load shedding to an end, but was unable to give a time-frame as to when, and said this was because they were trying to repair a broken system which included flawed designs of power stations, among others, and an element of sabotage where employees go in and cut wires so there could be breakage of units.

“We are dealing with the problem, this is not an excuse … we are dealing with it with the seriousness it deserves and we are putting resources behind it, billions and billions of rand behind it,” Ramaphosa said.

The City has warned residents of potential impacts on service delivery with Eskom implementing higher stages of load shedding more frequently.

The City appealed to its residents to reduce their water consumption where possible and to only flush toilets when really necessary to alleviate the pressure on the networks as some water and sanitation services were affected by the higher stages of load shedding.

On Sunday, the City said a number of areas, including Hout Bay, the City Bowl, Tamboerskloof and surrounds, experienced prolonged power outages due to damage caused by load shedding.

Energy Mayco member Beverley van Reenen said: “The continued load shedding at higher stages impacts work and restoration times due to the frequency and length of load shedding. Electricity infrastructure takes strain from this level of load shedding and outages are directly as a result of load shedding.

“The City’s energy infrastructure is well maintained and managed, but under pressure due to the constant high degree of load shedding.”

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said they spent a great deal of time and effort to develop plans to keep basic services running – like the provision of fresh water, and to maintain law and order, particularly on roads with few or no working traffic lights under conditions of blackouts.

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Cape Argus