Who Switches The Power Off During Load-Shedding?

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Load-shedding? Others may not understand what that means, but we South Africans do. We even have the “load-shedding schedule” on our phones because it’s now so part of our lives. But have you ever stopped to wonder: who actually turns the power off when you’re scheduled for load-shedding? We investigated …

Load-shedding equals light-out! When there’s inadequate power station capacity to meet all of the customers’ loads in the power supply, the electrical system becomes imbalanced and guess what? Load-shedding happens! But who is switching off the electricity right on time?

According to City of Ekurhuleni, technicians manually switch the circuits on and off! Eskom basically instructs municipalities to adhere to a schedule. You are probably familiar with those table “blocks” of regions to be load-shed, these are decided by your municipality. These are changed frequently to allow the load-shedding slots to not be repetitive. Can municipalities decline the load-shedding? Well, that’s not an option…

For a more detailed explanation from a City Power load-shed technician, watch this Youtube video, courtesy of Times Lives. Technicians are instructed by control to switch off which areas at what times.

According to, when the gap between supply and demand becomes minimal, the system is said to be “tight.” This suggests that steps must be taken to avoid the system becoming unstable. Scheduled load shedding is managed by distributing available power across all users. The system stays stable throughout the day by turning down sections of the network in a planned and controlled manner.

Local governments often use load shedding to meet their own demands and schedules. Customers who get their energy from Eskom will find information about potential interruptions on the company’s website. Those who are supplied by their local municipalities must receive information about load shedding from their municipal power departments. Johannesburg has seen substantial impacts to the economy due to load-shedding.


Understanding Load-Shedding Schedules

These load-shedding schedules are put in place to increase the predictability of being switched off. You can be updated about load-shedding in your area via:

  • Eskomsepush App
  • Load Shedding Notifier
  • PowerAlert dial on the websites and
  • Power status bulletins on regional radio stations and official social media (@Eskom_SA)
  • On request from the Eskom Contact Centre on 08600 ESKOM (086 003 7566)
  • Join a community Facebook page if your suburb has one

Understand The Load Shedding Stages

Let’s be honest, when we hear them announce that we’ll be going through load shedding stage 4, most of us are not too sure what that even means. So, to help you better understand the stages, we’ve listed them here. If you know what they mean, great! Just skip this and carry on with the rest of your load shedding prep below.

Four schedules have been formed, based on the level of risk and to ensure that load shedding is shared and done in a fair manner:

  • Stage 1 – allows for up to 1000 MW of the national load to be shed
  • Stage 2 – allows for up to 2000 MW of the national load to be shed
  • Stage 3 – allows for up to 3000 MW of the national load to be shed
  • Stage 4 – allows for up to 4000 MW of the national load to be shed

Hints & Tips On Surviving Load-shedding

We made a survival guide for you so that you can survive load-shedding, for a more detailed guide, check out this article. Here are a few things you can do to get through load-shedding.

  • Download a load-shedding app on your mobile
  • Fully charge all your devices
  • Consider buying a generator if you are a homeowner
  • Stock up on lighting alternatives and keep a torch
  • Replace electrical appliances with gas
  • Prepare meals before the power goes off
  • Power banks are lifesavers, invest in one
  • Keep connected to the internet 
  • Make sure you have adequate cash because ATMs cannot function without electricity
  • Just sleep through it!

Some Things We Can Do to Save Electricity Together

  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Turn off equipment when not in use
  • Utilize alternative energy sources such as solar geysers

UPCOMING EVENTS RELATED TO Who Switches The Power Off During Load-Shedding?



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