Expert Info

Posted by thiagoplopes01
on 8 Aug 2023


I'm on a process at the company I work for and probably will move to Johannesburg.

I was doing some research and I'd like to have more information about current energy situation in SA.

How often are we having blackouts? how long? how is this affecting the daily life?

Meagan on 8 Aug 2023 - 10:58

Hi there,

Basically, I would sum it up as: it's an inconvenience and can be very annoying but there are ways to cope and to lessen the impact loadshedding has on day-to-day life.

Loadshedding is done in stages according to how high the demand on the local power supply is versus how much power is available. The higher the stage, the more slots of loadshedding there'll be a day, and from Stage 5 and up slots get longer. Regular slots are around two hours, while higher slots are around four hours. The city is divided into numbered areas and each runs to their own schedule, so if you need to, you can always head to the next area over while your own area is out and wait out the outage. Then again, most large shops, malls and restaurants have generators to at least some extent, so even those in your own area may be functional during loadshedding.

Here's a working example. (I'm in Cape Town, so Joburg might not function identically, but I'm fairly certain the process is pretty much the same across the board.) At the moment we're on Stage 1 most of the day, switching to Stage 4 in the late afternoon/early evening. That means we get one evening blackout of two hours and another two hours somewhere in the middle of the night. The slots rotate so that each week you have a set standard daily slot of no power – some slots are more inconvenient than others, so the rotation is a good thing because it means if you have a not so great slot you're only stuck with it for a week. The "evening" slots are 4pm to 6pm, 6pm to 8pm, 8pm to 10pm, or 10pm to 12pm. People tend to plan around the outages, eating dinner a little earlier or later depending on what slot they have. The 6pm to 8pm slot is probably the least convenient. But there are ways to get around it – most people have a UPS to keep their fibre or wifi going while the power is out. You can also get inverters or generators, though these are pricier. Some people happen to have gas-operated stoves at home rather than electrical stoves, which helps a lot since you can still cook. Another thing you can do is replace lightbulbs around your house with emergency bulbs – they tend to last well for two hours if they're charged up, though they start to get dim by the end of the four-hour shifts.

The Eskom website has more info and I also recommend an app called Eskom Se Push, or ESP, which keeps you updated on your area's current schedule. You can also have a look at our Accommodation in South Africa page for more info on utilities, including electricity.

Hope this helps! Best of luck with the move.

– Meagan

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