It’s here to stay: Cape Town loadshedding times, stages, schedules & tips

You may have discovered the Cape Town loadshedding lookup tool, with geolocation, areas, suburbs, stages and more that has been referred to in previous posts.

With its home at or, if you want to type more –, it gives a view of where we are at in terms of load shedding – or, as some request, power non-provision, blackouts or power cuts. The tool refers to Cape Town in detail, with links to the City Power (Johannesburg) website (warning – may give a “server is busy” error) and to the Eskom “loadshedding” schedule.

Stick to consistent messaging

The biggest challenge – apart from electricity departments sticking to the schedules advertised – has been getting a clear and consistent communications channel through the stack of providers as to what stage – and thus, plan – is in place. Eskom tweets one thing, Eskom Media Desk another. City of Cape Town Alerts does a good job posting who or what will be affected with only a few issues here and there. But the City of Cape Town site lags with updates as to stages.

A stage by any other name

Add to the confusion caused by Eskom switching to a Stage 3 which only loosely correlates to stages 3a and 3b in the Cape Town municipal power provision zones.

The general understanding is as follows:

Stage 1: Generation shortfall of up to 1 000 MW
Stage 2: Generation shortfall of up to 2 000 MW
Stage 3: Generation shortfall of up to 4 000 MW

Maintenance was to be the watchword going forward. Koeberg’s Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1, which had the human error incident earlier this week – causing a loss of some 930MW in generating capacity – is scheduled to go into maintenance on Monday next. It may possibly be sync’ed to grid over the weekend, making a brief appearance in production ahead of the maintenance window. The sync failed due to human error. Only Unit 2 keeps producing power at present.

Stick to the schedule, and shed!

We all understand the need for maintenance, be it for a car, a power plant, or a pool pump. It must be applied. There is no way of avoiding it. Hence – shed – according to schedule. Do not avoid it to keep the lights on. Do not avoid it for reasons of image or reputation. We’ve passed that point. Work and stick to a schedule, so that a routine can be developed during which the backlog can be made up.

What to do?

Deal with it. There is little else you can do. Be it buying a generator (and fueling, maintaining, storing it), getting a WonderBag or getting a charging power pack for mobiles and laptops, going solar or gas only, it’s not going to go away. At least in the foreseeable, day-to-day future.