Eskom says it is to implement stage three load shedding from 8am on Thursday until 10 pm after which stage two load shedding will be implemented for the rest of the week.

The power utility says a number of generating units had gone down amid high power consumption because of the cold weather. It ramped load shedding to stage four on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.

Reaction to Eskom’s implementation of stage 4 load shedding:

Economist Mike Schussler says persistent load shedding will cripple South Africa’s economic recovery, without an urgent solution being found to the planned power cuts.

“When we have load shedding in South Africa every kilowatt-hour passes in R17 lost to the economy, you probably talking 17-million per hour lost to the economy. In the daytime, it’s a bit more and at night, it’s a bit less. If the load shedding continues at stage 4 pace it’s going to be damaging to the economy. Obviously 4 stages, we are looking at R68-million loss. But if the load shedding is going to be very damaging to the economy and in some cases even water shedding is against us,” says Schussler.

Government slammed

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has slammed government’s failure to keep the lights on.

In a statement, the organisation agrees with Schussler’s sentiments and says the current load shedding is devastating for businesses in all sectors of the economy and is creating hardship for citizens.

Business Unity South Africa has warned that if independent power producers are not allowed to add more electricity to the national grid, load shedding will never stop. Busa is calling for more investment in renewable energy and for government to change legislation and give more capacity to those who want to generate their own electricity.

“Eskom has got old machinery and power stations which will keep breaking up. What we now need is urgency from government to bring into the system alternative sources of power. Renewables, solar power, increasing own generation from 10 to 50megawatts. We have to concentrate on that while Eskom tries to fix it. If we do not bring more power into the grid. Load shedding will not stop,” says Busa CEO Cas Coovadia.

‘Power cuts bad for everyone’

South Africans have also voiced their frustration over the power outages.

They say they are bad for everyone including businesses.

“It takes us backward because the rest of the world is talking about restating their economies. Eskom needs to put its act together because the whole electricity question now is a national security threat. Equipment like fridges work with electricity and they won’t function well. Temperatures will be compromised,” some told SABC News.

The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) wants ESKOM CEO Andre de Ruyter sacked over the worsening power supply crisis in the country.