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Loadshedding causing more harm than we reckon

by Tia

Loadshedding is something that has become so normal in South Africa, yet something that a country could go years without experiencing. How did we get here? As maintained by www.eskom.co.za, load shedding is a controlled process that responds to unplanned events to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences. Blackouts occur when there is too much electricity demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance and consequently tripping the power system in its entirety.

During the last Enlit Africa Conference, held at Cape Town International Convention Centre, Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa spoke about how so much capital is lost as the country encounters load-shedding. He mentioned that the country lost 61 billion rands in 2022, and 77 billion rands going into 2023. He outlined that 650,000 job losses have been recorded in 2022, stating that it could lead to 860,000 or more in the next two years if the situation doesn’t get any better. 

Loadshedding can cripple the South African economy if Eskom doesn’t do better and come up with a long-term action plan that will recover this, and implement acceleration measures that can completely deplete load-shedding. It is bad, and the depth of it carries long-term implications, overly affecting individuals, homes, industries, and many other things. To top this all, it crushes the health factor of individuals and industries in many ways.  

Load shedding is a controlled process that responds to unplanned events to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences. Blackouts occur when there is too much electricity demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance and consequently tripping the power system in its entirety.

On a lighter note, electrical appliances are no longer in their full functional state. Televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, electrical kettles, and a lot more. While these power cuts are planned to protect the power system from absolute blackouts, they are causing damage to appliances. Make sure you remove appliances from sockets every time after use. Even if you are aware of the scheduled hours. Bright Star Lighting  elaborates that sudden power cuts can cause voltage fluctuations and surges, which can damage sensitive electronic components in your appliances. When power is restored, there can be a surge of electricity that can overload your appliances and cause damage to them.

Loadshedding has stages, and each area, city, or province has its scheduled hours that by now they know. Here are the stages in megawatts according to Eskom.

Stage 1 allows for up to 1000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 2 allows for up to 2000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 3 allows for up to 3000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 4 allows for up to 4000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 5 allows for up to 5000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 6 allows for up to 6000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 7 allows for up to 7000 MW of the national load to be shed.

Stage 8 allows for up to 8000 MW of the national load to be shed.

MW is short for megawatts.

We can only hope for things to get better, and for the light at the end of the tunnel, to not be so far and unreachable.

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