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All you need to know on load shedding


What is load shedding?

As South Africa’s primary electricity supplier, Eskom’s mandate is to ensure the security of supply to service the South African economy and society.

Eskom, therefore, generates, transports, and distributes electricity – and this is managed predominantly by Eskom for the entire country; however, Eskom only directly supplies more than 6 million households which means that most of us are supplied by municipalities.

At all times there must be sufficient supply to meet demand, however, electricity demand is not constant because of:

  • peak periods when demand is higher
  • and continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services.

This means that the power system requires constant and prudent management of supply to meet demand but, today, Eskom faces the challenge of a constrained power system that will affect us until substantial new power capacity is available. In the meantime, to meet demand, our older power stations and infrastructure are being used to full capacity. In addition, routine and necessary maintenance of plant and infrastructure is carefully scheduled to limit compromising supply capacity during periods of high demand. We have also strengthened the distribution network to reduce the incidence of localized outages when the power trips because of overload in local areas such as suburbs.

Localized outages should not be confused with load shedding. Local outages can occur when there is either a technical fault in the transmission or distribution network. Outages can also occur when electrical equipment has been tampered with due to theft of cables or when there is an overload of the local system because of irregular high usage, caused by electricity theft or normal faults.

Load shedding is a controlled process that responds to unplanned events in order to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences. Blackouts occur when there is too much electricity demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance and consequently tripping the power system in its entirety.

Many countries and cities in other parts of the world have experienced complete blackouts. To re-start their system, these countries have been able to tap into a power system from neighboring cities or countries, which can take up to a few hours or days. Unfortunately in South Africa, we have to rely on ourselves to start the system from scratch – energizing one power plant at a time and one section of the country at a time. In the event of a Blackout in South Africa, it could take up to two weeks to restore full power, which would have a severe impact on our country! This is why we use load shedding to manage our power system and protect it from such an event.

Eskom’s Load Shedding Protocols

Keeping the power system balanced is critical to prevent a nationwide blackout, and so when the national electricity grid is under pressure, Eskom must reduce demand, as agreed with the National Energy Regulator (NERSA), and therefore implements a process of Load Reduction.

load Reduction has two components:

  1. Load Curtailment. Our agreement with some of our large industrial customers means we can instruct them to reduce electricity consumption in order to balance the system. Some customers are able to reduce their load by up to 20%, significantly easing capacity on the grid; but it takes a minimum of 2 hours to implement.
  2. Load Shedding. If, after Load Curtailment, the demand on the system is still greater than available supply, we have to implement a process of load shedding in order to prevent an imbalance and subsequent blackout. Load shedding will also be implemented if there is insufficient time to request load curtailment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why could the website be slow?

We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and interest in this free service and are currently processing over 2,000 new sign-ups per working hour. If the website is slow, please be patient or give it 5 minutes and try again.

What is the delay between the change of status and receipt of email?

The sheer volume of emails needing to be sent means it currently takes over 30 min to send all the emails when ESKOM changes national load shedding status. So some of you will get their alert 30 minutes before others. We are currently upgrading our email servers to manage the immense load.

Are the 15-minute warnings/notifications also delayed?

Thankfully at present, the 15-minute warnings are not affected as much and you should be receiving these at worst 10 minutes before you are due to be load-shed.

Why are load shedding times not matching with the emails I receive?

Our schedules have been audited and we have received a 100% report match. We kindly suggest that the following may be happening:

Please ensure that you have entered the correct zone (we have found that the majority of our users reporting inaccuracies entered in the wrong zone.)

The above often happens because your sub-station may be located in an adjacent zone. Please check.

We have also found cases where the local municipality is not following the schedule and/or had no need to as the demand on the grid allowed for it.

The council schedules are a guideline to determine which block/zone a customers’ suburb is in and should be accurate under normal operating conditions. However, each customer can be fed from multiple substations, some of which could be in different blocks/zones. Under fault or high load conditions, customers can be fed from alternative neighboring substations, some of which may be in other blocks/zones.

Distribution substations are supplied from major substations by multiple circuits and it is possible that the source of supply could be changed for reasons outside of load shedding. While this does not happen often (and usually returns to the normal state after a period), it is possible that this would result in the customer being associated with a different block from time to time.

How do I determine what zone I am in if I have the problem of load shedding times not matching up with emails?

The easiest way to determine your zone/block is to make a diligent note of the exact times you are being load-shed and then consult the relevant municipality load shedding schedule to see what block/zones are being loaded shed at the same time as you. This way you can determine what area you are in.

A single such comparison under Stage-1 load shedding will pinpoint your area, and you will require two such comparisons under stage 2 load shedding to do the required elimination to pinpoint which sub-station you are being delivered power from. You can go to your control panel link provided at the bottom of your emails to subscribe to multiple suburbs/zones if you so require.

You can also phone your municipality load-shedding hotline with your address to determine your exact zone/block. The load shedding schedules and phone numbers for your respective municipality are in the below links.

This may sound like a lot of effort, but it is a once-off and load shedding will be with us for the next few years at least and is likely to worsen.

    City of Cape Town

    City Power (Gauteng)

    Ethekwini (Durban)

    Tshwane (Pretoria)

Why can’t I find my suburb in the lists you provide for my Municipality?

If you can’t find your suburb in the lists we provide for your municipality, it means you may be getting your electricity directly from ESKOM and unfortunately, we can’t help you with alerts. This is because we have yet to find a way to get load shedding schedules in electronic format from ESKOM.

Can Sharenet or PowerStocks help with pinpointing my zone?

Unfortunately, we are not able to do this. We will have to do just as much work as you trying to figure this out, and do not employ the resources to provide that level of support as this is a free service and we would very much like to keep it that way for our users. To see the answers to questions 4 and 5 above for tips on this subject.

We’d like to thank you…

We have received so many kind words and positive feedback but would like for clients to restrain from sending thank-you responses to the email alerts via email. The feedback has been of such volume that it has created bottlenecks in our system. We do want to hear from you though, so please direct your feedback to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Facebook: sharenetsa

    Twitter: @SharenetSA

How do I unsubscribe?

If you wish to unsubscribe, please go to your control panel link at the bottom of your email alerts, select the municipality/s you set alerts for, untick all the suburbs for that municipality you are receiving alerts for and go to STEP-2 to save your configuration. Your account will then be “suspended” from all alerts and you can always re-activate them or sign up again at a later stage.

Why didn’t I get load-shed when Stage 3 alerts were sent out?

ESKOM may issue a Stage 3 alert and some municipalities may elect to NOT load-shed certain areas as per the Stage 3 schedule. Unfortunately, we are not able to cater for this and as such, we still end out the Stage 3 alert. Best prepare for the worst, then be caught off-guard.

Incorrect schedules, what can be done?

Unfortunately, we are not responsible for municipality schedules and the accuracy thereof. If they fail to load-shed according to the schedule published, there is not much we or anyone can do. Please bear this in mind before complaining.

Can I get an SMS alert?

We currently don’t support SMS anymore due to the cost (R0.12 each time 250,000 subscribers) would bankrupt us. We are exploring alternative push-alert options and also negotiating with the cellular providers so that is why we ask for your cellphone number in the future. You can always change your email address to the one you use on your phone to get the alerts on your phone, or even create a brand new account with a separate free email (like Gmail) used by your phone. We have also just launched an Android App with push alerts and alerts from these apps will be just as good, if not better than SMS alerts.

Can I subscribe to multiple municipalities?

Yes, you can. Simply subscribe to multiple municipalities by clicking on the municipality logos on the main page and following the easy steps thereafter.

Can you add my municipality to your list?

We will be adding more municipalities over time, starting with all the ESKOM direct customers in Cape Town and then Ekurhuleni municipality. Please be patient as this is a non-core function of our business and we use the little spare time we have to work on this free service when we can.

Do you have a dedicated Twitter account for this service?

Yes, you can follow enhancements, new features to the service, and occasional load shedding commentary from us by following us on Twitter, where we have established a new handle specifically dedicated to this free service.

Do you have a mobile App?

Yes, we currently have an Android App but the download link to this will only be provided once you have successfully completed creating an account and setting your areas and zones and alerting preferences. The IOS app will be available in the near future. The push alerts from these apps will be just as good, if not better than SMS alerts.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
 
Please, we ask you to treat this service as a social project in a pilot phase. It is new and we are all trying our best to roll out a useful, relevant service for free. We have to deal with the complications of ESKOM and Municipalities changing the rules now and again as well as the issues associated with massively large subscriptions (running into millions) and their impact on our servers and bandwidth and human resources.

Please bear in mind that we don’t supply electricity, we don’t take the load shedding schedules, we don’t know why certain areas go off and others don’t, we don’t know why municipalities are not following their schedules, we don’t know why your lights are off when they are supposed to be on, we don’t know why your lights are off and your neighbors’ lights are on, and we are in no way associated with the government, ESKOM or the municipalities.

We are a group of private financial services companies who don’t make any money for offering this service. It was developed in-house for our own purposes and we felt there may be a need for this and so offered to share our intellectual property gratis. It has exploded and the interest was well-beyond what we had anticipated. Considering the above, we ask that users please refrain from abusing our support staff with complaints, profanity and insults. This is a voluntary non-profit project. We are constantly striving to improve it as we go along on a limited staff and budget, and in our spare time.

About the teams involved in the freeload shedding service:

PowerStocks Research, established in 2009, provides buy and sell signals, investment, and trading models, share tips, stock market research as well as bear market and recession warnings to JSE private investors.

RecessionALERT.com provides economic modeling, recession models, and market timing models to US financial advisors, stock brokerage firms, hedge funds, and private investors.

Sharenet started 27 years ago and has been at the forefront of technological developments in the trading and financial data services sector. Sharenet has grown into one of the most active financial information portals in South Africa. We provide financial information and news, JSE share prices and charts, stock market education and software plus trading platforms to allow clients to trade shares and CFDs.

Loadshedding schedules stages 1 to 8 (Downloadable spreadsheets)2018/11/14

Municipalites and towns that are supplied directly by Eskom  

Please read:​Provincial schedules
​The load shedding timetable starts when there is a formal announcement from EskomEastern C​ape Free State Gauteng KwaZulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga Northern Cape North West Western Cape​
This is a monthly time table for Eskom customers​ applicable for all months of the year
Example; If you are scheduled from 16:00 to 20:30, but loadshedding is declared at 17h00, you will only be load shed from 17h00 to 20h30
If one is scheduled on a lower stage and a higher stage is declared, then your current time slot will not change. Eg; a time slot from 16h00 to 20h30 in a stage, will be completed, even if a higher stage is declared during that time.
How to find your schedule 
1. Identify and select the appropriate stage of loadshedding 
2. Identify and select your town or municipality or city 
3. Identify and select your suburb
​The table will now display the current month with the date highlighted in red.  The shaded areas will indicate the times when loadshedding will be implemented during the selected stage.Please note that all shaded areas will be times when the power will be off.  Schedules are cumulative, i.e. stage 3 will include the times as scheduled for the preceding stages 1 and 2 on the same day. 

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