South Africa: ‘Load shedding’ still a reality

‘Load shedding’ occurs whenever there is insufficient electricity available to meet the current demand on the national grid. In South Africa, the national power utility – Eskom – interrupts the supply of electricity to certain areas to regulate demand, particularly during the cold winter months, but the resilient country is learning how to minimise these disruptions with careful planning and by reducing electricity consumption.

In most cases Eskom and the local district Municipalities provide Load Shedding Schedules on their websites, outlining the load shedding stages, affected zones and times when supply may be interrupted. Interruptions occur for different periods of time and different “stages” – dependent on the severity of the current electricity short-fall – and last anything from one to four hours (depending on the policy in the local municipality).

Power shortages leads to other frustrations and impacts on businesses, and it has become imperative for many large organisations to install electricity generators. Electricity interruptions of up to four hours can spell disaster for some businesses in South Africa!

On a more personal level, many private homes are also installing smaller-scale generators, in order to run at least the essential items for any household: namely a light, geyser and plug points.

While it hasn’t yet become a pre-requisite for owners to provide generators, this may change in the near future as there is uncertainty for how long Eskom’s Load Shedding programme will continue, or how soon planned infrastructure developments will alleviate the situation.

The good news is that the South African government is already in advanced stages of negotiation with several possible suppliers of new nuclear power stations for the country – a costly programme that will hopefully provide a long-term solution to South Africa’s electricity shortages.

Executive Relocations in Africa is closely monitoring this situation, and we will keep you updated!