On Monday evening South Africans were shocked by Eskom’s sudden declaration that it would implement Stage 6 loadshedding.

We say this because we were shocked by the news. This prompted us to abandon the Eskom Se Push app which only provided a schedule up to Stage 4 and head to the Eskom website.

There we were able to download the Eskom schedule and within seconds we were lost.

Loadshedding schedules are often a mess but there is a degree of logic behind them. Once you recognise the logic, it’s actually rather easy to decrypt and understand the loadshedding schedule.

Step 1 – Finding your supplier

The first step in understanding your loadshedding schedule is finding out who your electricity supplier is.

You will need to look at your electricity bill here. If your bill has the Eskom logo your supplier is Eskom and you are classified as an Eskom Direct customer.

If your bill has your muncipality’s name/logo then you are a municipal customer.

Knowing who your supplier is makes finding the schedule for your area quite a lot easier.

Eskom Direct customers can find their loadshedding schedules here. Municipal customers can find their loadshedding schedules here.

Something else you should know is which municipality you fall under as that will come into play in the next step.

Step 2 – Setting up the schedule

As each municipality has its own way of scheduling loadshedding we will be looking purely at Eskom’s schedule.

Should your schedule differ in any way we recommend contacting your municipality for help with understanding the nuances of that schedule.

Once you downloaded the schedule in XLS format you will be presented with the table above. Firstly, insure that you are on either the 2 hour tab or 4 hour tab. For reference, the image above is a four hour schedule. This varies from area to area but you should be familiar with your average loadshedding session length by now.

Then, you will want to change the Stage to the appropriate severity using the drop down menu. To find out the stage we recommend following Eskom on Twitter and Facebook

Then, select the municipality you live in as well as the suburb.

If you are unable to find your municipality or suburb you either have the incorrect schedule and you will need to go back to Step 1 and find the correct document, or you have simply not selected the correct duration tab.

As you can see in the image above, the current date is highlighted in red and below it are two groups of numbers.

Those number represent the loadshedding severity so it follows that from 00:00 to 04:30, Morningside was without power due to Stage 4 loadshedding.

The confusing bit is the second group for Stage 3.

What is important to remember is that loadshedding is cumulative so if Stage 4 is declared, Stages 3, 2 and 1 are also in effect. This is relevant to all loadshedding schedules regardless of whether it comes from Eskom or your municipality.

With that in mind we can determine that at 16:00 the power will go off in Morningside until 20:30.

Step 3 – When loadshedding ends but it doesn’t

Often folks will play down extended loadshedding as Eskom dropping the ball but that isn’t always the case.

Yes, loadshedding may have been extended while you sat in the dark but unless you are able to verify that through the official Eskom social media channels, then that isn’t the case.

Often times when the power comes back on after loadshedding, equipment and infrastructure fails. We know Eskom hasn’t done maintenance for nearly a decade so when a power surge courses through aging infrastructure, it ends badly.

In this regard it is vital that you report an outage to Eskom or your municipality lest you wish to remain in the dark.

In order to report an outage you will need your account number so keep that handy.

We’ve found the easiest way to read the loadshedding schedule is to print it out and keep it somewhere everybody can find it.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]