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Brace for Eskom load shedding Stage 8? — South Africa has been placed under Stage 6 load shedding since Sunday evening 19 February until further notice due to the breakdown of eight generation units.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility is working hard to restore generating capacity, and hopes to de-escalate stage 6 load shedding from the Wednesday peak. Thereafter stages will be downgraded to Stage 4 and hopefully Stage 3 by the weekend.

ALSO READ:Eskom stage 8 load shedding alarms are ringing: All you need to know.

Eskom Stage 8 load shedding news
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter (left). The ongoing load shedding crisis has been declared a National State of Disaster. Images: Stock/Twitter/@eskom_sa.

Why experts think Stage 8 load shedding might be looming large

Energy experts and analysts have however sounded the alarm over the possibility of Stage 8 power cuts. Given the high number of breakdowns, Eskom itself has warned further changes to load shedding stages could happen at short notice.

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Isabel Fick, general manager for the Eskom System Operator unit, told My Broadband on Monday that they are currently working with the energy regulator to prepare load shedding schedules beyond Stage 8.

This correlates with Eskom saying that it is in the process of reviewing its documentation and schedules which govern stages of load shedding.

The power utility said that the review process is underway and is currently sitting with regulators and industry, and it will look at different stages of power cuts and contingencies for Stage 8, according to BusinessTech.

The Eskom System Operator is the entity that monitors South Africa’s grid stability and determine the level of load shedding.

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Disruption in diesel supply could lead to Stage 8

According to the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), the country’s electricity scenario is dire and the country could be plunged into higher levels of power cuts if Eskom’s diesel supplies run out.

De Ruyter told BusinessTech that the open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) are currently being run hard, which is why stage 6 load shedding is required.

The power utility’s CEO added the there were some diesel constraints over the weekend which caused issues. According to De Ruyter, the funding issues around diesel have also resolved with the backing of National Treasury.

Last week, the National Energy Crisis Committee said the power utility’s diesel supplies are ample for the time being although any disruption in diesel supply could immediately cause Stage 8 power cuts.

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What does Eskom say?

De Ruyter told BusinessTech that the risk of Stage 8 load shedding is always present, given the high levels of unreliability inherent to the grid and it being part of the contingency in place.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available below:

City of Johannesburg
City of Ekurhuleni
City of Tshwane
City of Cape Town (PDF)
Nelson Mandela Bay
eThekwini
Manguang
Buffalo City

ALSO READ:Eskom Stage 8 load shedding alarms are ringing: All you need to know.

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