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HomeNewsAre you having load shedding or an outage? Eskom explains the difference

Are you having load shedding or an outage? Eskom explains the difference

Are you having load shedding or an outage? Eskom explains the difference

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Rustenburg – Not all blackouts experienced in South Africa are as a result of load shedding, sometimes there are unplanned power outages which set in.

Load shedding is a planned and scheduled power interruption enforced by power utility Eskom – a controlled disruption to the power supply – whereas power outages are normally unplanned and happen sporadically within municipal power networks.

According to Eskom, load shedding is a planned switch off instructed by Eskom National Control. Eskom and various municipalities’ control rooms are expected to cut power, normally in two-hour intervals, as an emergency to lower demand.

Load shedding is a nationwide event, with suburbs or towns ‘shed’ rotationally based on the stage and schedule.

It could last between two to four hours depending on the stage of the load shedding.

Load shedding could be caused by a shortage of generation capacity.

It could also be caused by insufficient coal for Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, which could impact on generation.

A power outage can be a planned or unplanned interruption of supply as a result of a disconnection of one or more lines on the local power network.

It could affect a small suburb or town or a wider area depending on the fault.

Eskom and municipalities communicate once they become aware of the fault.

Power outages can be caused by illegal connections, which could result in the network overheating, equipment failure, cable theft, poor weather or deliberate disconnection of equipment to protect equipment or staff.

The duration of outages depends on the size of the problem. It could vary from hours to days.

Load shedding stages explained

The higher the load-shedding stage, the more frequent you will experience load shedding.

The higher the stage, the greater the number of customers who will be affected across the country.

Load shedding in stage 8 will result in customers having electricity for half (50%) of the day.

1 000MW are shed in stage 1, 2 000MW in stage 2, 3 000MW in stage 3, 4 000MW in stage 4, 5 000MW in stage 5, 6 000MW in stage 6, 7 000MW in stage 7 and 8 000MW in stage 8.


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