Cold nights ahead as Eskom reverts to stage-four loadshedding

It is back to dark and long cold nights after power utility Eskom announced on Monday that it has implemented stage-four loadshedding from 1pm to 5am on Tuesday.

The sudden change in rolling power cuts’ schedule was necessitated by high demand and a slight reduction in power generation as a result of cold weather, according to Eskom.

Eskom said it will publish an update as and when necessary and is “pleading with the public to switch off non-essential appliances to reduce loadshedding”.

The country has been hit by a brutal cold front that led to below-freezing temperatures in Gauteng, which also witnessed snowflakes in some parts of the province on Monday morning.

Snow is a rare occurrence in Gauteng, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and on June 27 2007.

September 1981 had the greatest snowfall on record, with statistics showing snowfall accumulating up to 10cm across the province.

Monday’s spectacle saw residents brave the cold and head outdoors to take pictures of the snowflakes.

The weather service said clouds in areas that have been experiencing rainfall over the weekend will begin to clear up on Tuesday. According to the weather service, cold weather conditions in Gauteng are expected to last throughout the week.

It said Johannesburg will experience -3/10°C on Monday and -1/13°C on Tuesday, while Wednesday’s weather is forecast at 1/15°C, 2/16°C for Thursday and 5/17°C for Friday. 

The escalation of loadshedding to stage four comes a day after Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramakgopa announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy action plan is bearing fruit.

“We’ve been able to maintain, if you like, that trendline. We are approximately in that 60% energy availability factor,” he told the media at the weekend.

“We had said that we’re going to reduce planned maintenance drastically, so that we have as many units as possible at any given time generating the megawatts that we need.”

Ramokgopa said Eskom, working alongside 100 experts from the private sector, has been able to mitigate loadshedding to allow for generation recoveries.

The sharp turn of events comes as the country last experienced higher stages of loadshedding on June 11.


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