Stage 6 of shedding is here, what does it mean?
This is not the first time that South African has reached this level of power outage, stage 6 has been eminent since last weekend . Normally we do not get load shedding on weekends , but this past week we did , we just jumped from stage 2 to stage 4 , most of people ware expecting stage 8 this week.
Stage 6 load shedding has been confirmed from 16:00 to 22:00 on Tuesday evening.
This comes after Eskom lost 10 generating units overnight, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter announced at a hastily arranged media briefing on Tuesday morning. Stage 6 has only been implemented once before, on 9 December 2019, he said.
“We currently have 3 218MW on planned maintenance, while another 17 621MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” Eskom added.
“Unless the current unprotected strike comes to an end, it may even escalate further,” Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer said during the briefing on Tuesday morning.
He said the power system was recovering well on Monday and Eskom still needs to understand what exactly happened during the night. He believes there is some damage to infrastructure, but with limited access to sites and reduced staff numbers who are working flat out to keep the lights on, this has not been quantified.
With operations at several coal-fired power stations disrupted and running at reduced staff numbers due to the wildcat strike, Eskom was hoping to return 3 400 MW of capacity by 17h00, but that is at risk due to the labour protest.
The current situation follows Eskom’s move a week ago to declare a dispute after wage negotiations deadlocked. Eskom then applied for an expedited date at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for the next step in the legislated bargaining process, namely conciliation.
On Monday it was still awaiting a date, but De Ruyter disclosed that he met union bosses the previous day for negotiations that were set to continue later Monday.
He said the talks were “productive” and added that while the strike actions seemed to be co-ordinated, the union bosses said they cannot control the actions of the workers and don’t condone it.
He said energy regulator Nersa allowed less than 5.5% increase for all staff in its revenue allocation that informs electricity tariffs. Eskom’s last offer was up to 5.3%, while the National Union of Metalworkers refused to budge below 12%.
De Ruyter said if Eskom had to settle beyond what Nersa allowed, it would have to be funded from savings. It will be a challenge to do that while protecting the utility’s going concern status.
Stage 6 what does it mean to South African?
With Stage 6 South African faces at least six hours of darkness per day, Oberholzer said.