Stage 6 load shedding is when Eskom cuts off power to the whole of South Africa.
Stage 6 load shedding refers to the biggest load shedding in South Africa’s history. The power outage lasted for three days, from September 2nd to September 4th. It was triggered by a huge storm that caused the breakdown of a major transmission line between Kriel and Sasolburg in Mpumalanga. This meant that all of South Africa had no electricity. The government responded by implementing Stage 6 load shedding, which is when Eskom cuts off power to the whole country.
What is stage 6 load shedding?
Load shedding is a measure taken by Eskom, which is the state-owned company responsible for supplying electricity in South Africa. When there are not enough generators available, or if there are not enough coal supplies for them to run on, then Eskom will have no choice but to cut off some areas from power completely.
Why does stage 6 load shedding happen?
Eskom’s biggest problem has been its inability to keep up with demand for electricity in South Africa. In 2018 alone it had four blackouts, which were all down to maintenance issues at various coal-fired plants around the country.
How did we get here?
South Africans have been calling on Eskom and the government since last year to implement Stage 6 load shedding as a way of dealing with their energy crisis. However, this would be an extreme measure and would lead people into poverty as they could not access any electricity at all for several days.