At the weekend several publications published stories claiming that municipalities were being warned to prepare for Stage 8 loadshedding by Eskom.

The power utility has now issued a statement calling these claims “erroneous and incorrect”.

The confusion appears to stem from a statement made by the Buffalo City Municipality on 10th January.

“As we are all aware Load shedding [sic] is part of our daily lives, with generation and maintenance challenges growing all Municipalities have been advised to review their current practices and adjust the load shedding schedule from stages 1-3 upwards to stages 1 to 8,” wrote the Buffalo City Municipality.

While South Africans were shocked to discover that loadshedding went up to Stage 8 in December 2019, the fact of the matter is that Stage 8 has been around since 2016.

Eskom explains that back in 2015 it along with local municipalities identified a need to extend the planning for loadshedding in the event that the situation worsened.

As such NRS048-9 Ed.2 was published in 2017 to replace NRS048. This document – published by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) – outlines when loadshedding can be implemented, how long after loadshedding the power should be restored and a lot more. Most importantly however, NRS048-9 Ed.2 outlines the need to extend loadshedding beyond Stage 4.

So where did this call to “prepare for Stage 8” come from?

As far as we can tell, Eskom informed all municipalities to prepare for Stage 8 loadshedding by updating their schedules. Back in December 2019 when Stage 6 loadshedding was announced for the first time ever, South Africans had to scramble to find schedules and many came up short.

“The Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU) therefore engaged most of its member to confirm their compliance to the code – i.e. whether stage 5 to 8 had been published by those Metro’s that had not yet done so,” Eskom explained in a statement.

With all of this having been said we should say that Stage 8 is real and could be implemented at any time.

A power alert from Eskom puts unplanned outages and breakdowns at 11 723MW as of 06:30 on Tuesday morning which translates into no loadshedding for today.

For readers who are still waiting for their municipalities to include Stages 4 – 8 of the loadshedding schedule we recommend heading here for schedules directly from Eskom.

The EskomSePush app for Android and iOS was also recently updated to include all loadshedding schedules from Stage 1 to Stage 8.