Stage 4 load shedding: What it means & how long the power is gone


It’s going to be a long week for South Africans as they have no choice but to put up with more rolling blackouts, after stage 4 of load shedding was recently implemented by Eskom. The escalated power cuts are expected to continue at least until Friday morning a 05:00, after which stage 2 comes to an end on Saturday morning at the same time.

Many have taken to social media to express their frustration with the embattled power utility, as it has struggled to keep the lights on since the first week of October – before then, load-shedding had been last implemented in July. The embattled parastatal has reminded customers that load shedding is implemented as a last resort. Now with stage 4 in full swing, some find themselves asking what it exactly means for them: Here’s a quick reminder.


According to Eskom, load shedding in stages 1 to 4 is implemented in most parts of the country in 2 hour blocks.However, in Eskom-supplied Johannesburg areas, blocks are 4 hours long, so as to coincide with City Power’s 4 hour schedule. Each of the time periods has an additional 30 minutes added to allow for switching of networks in a way that will not damage the power system.

Stage 4 load shedding means up to 4000MW of capacity needs to be shed. Consumers can expect to be shed up to 12 times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.

Meanwhile Eskom says the decision to ramp up load shedding to stage 4 was necessary to ration the remaining emergency generation reserves, which were utilised extensively on Monday morning. The utility’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says this is because they are not getting the reduction in demand as expected from the implementation of stage 2, which had been implemented before.