By Daanyaal Matthews
Rumours of Stage 16 loadshedding, and the possibility of a nationwide grid collapse, has taken social media by storm as South Africans fear a reality with no electricity.
Recently, Electricity Minister, Kgosientso Ramakgopa, has stated that stage six power cuts will continue indefinitely. However, rumours of a possible stage 16 have been furthered by the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa who has warned that if Government were to follow through with the Gauteng High Court ruling, which ordered Government to exempt public institutions from loadshedding, the grid could possibly collapse. His words coupled by a viral video of EFF Leader, Julius Malema, alleging that a national blackout is imminent has gripped citizens of the Republic in fear of the future.
Speaking on DriveTime, Professor Hartmut Winkler, Energy Analyst from the Department of Physics at the University of Johannesburg, discussed what exactly stage 16 loadshedding would entail stating that it would effectively mean no power anywhere. According to the Professors calculations, given the current pattern of the loadshedding schedule, stage 16 loadshedding would entail no power to consumers and effectively be a grid collapse.
The Professor further elaborates on this by describing reports on the matter, in newspapers, as lacking in proper presentation:
“The stories that appear in the newspapers were, I would say, not very well presented. It gives the impression that stage 16 would be imminent. What Eskom is planning to do is at the moment all our schedules go to stage eight. Now, the schedules that we are working on at the moment were prepared several years ago in a time where nobody envisioned, we would ever go beyond stage 8. Now we have reached a situation where it is not out of the question that we would not only reach stage eight but even go a little bit beyond that, “said Winkler.
The Energy Analyst has further argued that the current reality of the energy sector has worsened since last year stressing the need for there to be an effective plan to curtail the issue before it worsens.
“Unfortunately, we are now in a situation where there are really few powerplants coming online or relatively small. So, we are really sitting waiting for something to happen that will massively increase power production,” he added.
However, on the likelihood of Stage 16 possibly being the reality, Professor Winkler states:
“My prediction is that it’s not going to happen this year, if I had to put my money on it, probably stage 8 but no worse this year.”