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These are the contingency plans in place for Stage 8 electricity load shedding throughout the country

Stage 8 electricity load shedding might soon be the reality for South Africans as energy analysts say we are moving closer to the total grid shutdown.

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“We are certainly moving closer to a stage 8 total grid meltdown, the chances are more than 70%. And we will see level 6 load shedding before the end of the year,” said energy analyst Ted Blom.

But how prepared are we as a nation for Stage 8?

Well, not quite.

According to News24, few provinces and municipalities have made contingency plans to keep the power on and basic services and infrastructure functioning if load shedding reaches Stage 8 or higher on an ongoing basis.

According to the report, a number of municipalities and provinces are awaiting guidance from Eskom on the way forward.

Few provinces and municipalities have made contingency plans to keep water, sewage and communication networks functioning or in the event of a total blackout.

The Western Cape has made contingency plans, but there has been little or no guidance from national government on how to prepare if basic services or critical infrastructure become dysfunctional during load shedding.

The contingency plan was developed a independently along with Eskom.

“The plan focuses on the disaster response to prolonged load shedding,” Premier Alan Winde told News24 via written correspondence.

Winde also said the provincial government was working with other municipalities in the province to develop a resilience plan.

According to the head of the disaster risk centre in the Western Cape, Colin Dreiner, the disaster risk centre has emergency measures that look at diesel availability to assist with power generation.

In the City of Joburg, all necessary precautions have been implemented.

Spokesperson for City of Joburg’s environment and infrastructures department, Nickolaus Bauer, said: “All necessary precautions have been made to ensure emergency services, hospitals and care homes have access to uninterrupted electricity in case of severe load shedding.

“These are being prioritised in the case of an outage too.”

For KwaZulu-Natal, meetings were held with the NDMC and Eskom, according to Sibongiseni Emmanuel Ngema, head of the disaster management centre in KwaZulu-Natal. However, Eskom had not provided a contingency plan.

Ngema assured Eskom was working on national guidelines to assist provincial governments in the case of Stage 7 or 8 load shedding or a national blackout.

Tebogo Gaolaolwe, head of the disaster management centre in the Northern Cape, said the province was waiting on Eskom for a contingency plan.

What is Stage 8 and what does it mean for South Africans?

In an interview with the SABC, Sampson Mamphweli said earlier this month higher stages of load shedding could take effect.

Stage 8 load shedding entails pulling 8 000MW from the grid. What this means for us is we will be without electricity for 12-14 hours a day.

Safety tips during periods of load-shedding from the City of Cape Town:

  • Make sure you are familiar with your area’s schedule so you do not arrive home in darkness
  • Where intersections are affected, be vigilant for opportunistic crimes like smash and grab incidents
  • Do not drive alone, if possible, especially after dark
  • Ensure batteries for automated gates, garage doors and security systems are in good working order and store temporary lighting such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark.
  • Make sure your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages.
  • Traffic lights that are out and unmanned, should be treated as four-way stops at intersections.
  • Safety around the home: ensure all non-essential appliances are switched off before load-shedding starts. Take extra care when using open flames or other heat sources for cooking or lighting. Ensure gates, windows and doors are secured.

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