What Does Stage 6, 7 & 8 Of Load Shedding Mean?

This year has seen the worst of load shedding throughout the 15 year period of power cuts. None of which can see an end in sight, load shedding affects all types of communities – from schools, hospitals and health care facilities, to those studying or working from home, as well as those who transport to work and school. As load shedding won’t be letting up anytime soon, many of us have started to get clued up about load shedding and its various stages. But as stage 6, 7 and 8 aren’t so common, do we really know what they could mean for communities and residents? 

Stage 1

The first stage of load shedding requires 1000 MW of electricity to be lost. You can expect a period of 3 times over 4 days for 2 hours at a time, or 3 times over an eight day period for four hours at a time. 

Stage 2

This means that up to 2000 MW must be shed. Expect power outages 6 times over a four day period for 2 hours, or 6 times over an eight day period for four hours each. 

Stage 3

In this stage, up to 3000 MW of capacity needs to be shed. You can expect there to be load shedding for 9 times during a period of 4 days for 2 hours, or 9 times over eight days for four hours at a time. 

Stage 4 

This means that load shedding will take place and shed about 4000 MW of electricity. The load shedding will take place over a period of 4 days for 2 hours, or 12 times over an eight day period, for four hours at a time. 

Stage 5 

Stage 5 load shedding requires 5000 MW to be shed. There will be load shedding of up to 12 times during a period of 4 days, or 9 times for 2 hours, or even 3 times a day. 

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Stage 6 & 7 Of Load Shedding

The highest stage of load shedding ever experienced in South Africa is stage 6 load shedding. Stage 6 load shedding means that 5000 MW to 6000 MW of power must be shed in order to prevent the national grid from collapsing. If the power grid were to collapse, it would leave Eskom having to begin additional, unscheduled power cuts whenever needed, and outside of existing schedules. However, stage 6 means power cuts are scheduled over a 4-day window to take place twice a day at 4 hours a time.

Stage 7 load shedding means that approximately 7000 MW of power is shed, and power cuts are scheduled over a four day period for four hours at a time. 

Stage 8 

The dreaded stage 8 load shedding doubles the frequency of stage 4, which means that Eskom will need to shed about 8000 MW. This would leave us in the dark for up to six times a day, or having power for only 50% of the time with the power off for 12 hours a day, depending on the schedule. 

If we ever reach this point, it’s guaranteed that South Africa will become chaotic. Hospitals and other critical infrastructure will have difficulty remaining operational, and the outages will also affect the economy greatly. 

Citizens would be without power for extended periods, meaning looting and crime will take over, and food production will be stopped. 

Stage 7 load shedding allows for up to 7000 MW of the national load to be shed. 

In addition to the ongoing power cuts, it’s said that Eskom wishes to hike tariffs in 2023. This will be done by applying to the energy regulator Nersa for a hike of 32%, which could raise prices by over 38%. 


We haven’t yet had prolonged periods of stage 6 – 8 load shedding yet, however, things will get worse before they get better. It is likely that we will see stage 6 to 8 power outages in the coming months and in early 2023 before we can expect to see a change in load shedding. For now, all that we can do is be prepared for load shedding. You may need a UPS, which is a great solution for load shedding, especially for people working from home. Don’t forget to check your load shedding schedule everyday. Currently, Eskom has 6004 MW of generation capacity offline for planned maintenance and a further 14 961 MW unavailable due to the breakdowns.

Let the experienced and professional team at SweepSouth clean your home with a vast range of cleaning services, so that you can be prepared for load shedding and have one less task on your plate during these stressful times. 

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