How Many Hours is Stage 8 Load Shedding?

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  • May 19, 2023

stage 8 load shedding hours

Stage 8 load shedding is the most severe and critical stage of power reduction implemented by Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility. This stage signifies an extreme strain on the national power grid, requiring Eskom to shed approximately 8,000 MW of electricity. The duration of power outages during Stage 8 load shedding has a significant impact on consumers and the overall power supply. This article provides an in-depth analysis to answer how many hours is stage 8 load shedding, examining its duration, frequency, and implications for individuals and communities.

Understanding Stage 8 Load Shedding

Stage 8 load shedding is a reflection of an unprecedented crisis in the power system, where the demand for electricity surpasses the available supply by a substantial margin. Eskom resorts to this stage as a last-ditch effort to prevent a complete collapse of the national power grid. During Stage 8 load shedding, Eskom is mandated to shed approximately 8,000 MW of electricity, a massive reduction in power supply.

Duration of Power Outages

The duration of power outages during Stage 8 load shedding is significantly longer compared to earlier stages. Consumers can expect up to six power outages per day, with each outage lasting for 12 hours. This means that, on any given day, there will be a total of 72 hours without electricity, leaving only 12 hours of power supply available.

Impact on Individuals and Communities

The extended duration of power outages during Stage 8 load shedding has profound implications for individuals, businesses, and communities. Some of the key impacts include:

  1. Disruption of Daily Life: The 12-hour power outages pose significant challenges to daily routines and activities. Individuals and households have to make arrangements for alternative sources of lighting, cooking, and heating/cooling during prolonged periods without electricity. Businesses and essential services face disruptions, impacting productivity and service delivery.
  2. Economic Consequences: Stage 8 load shedding has severe economic consequences. Extended power outages disrupt businesses, leading to financial losses and reduced productivity. Industries relying on continuous power supply, such as manufacturing and healthcare, may experience significant setbacks. The overall economic growth of the country is negatively affected.
  3. Communication and Connectivity: The lack of electricity for 12-hour periods disrupts communication and connectivity. Without power, individuals and businesses may face challenges in accessing internet services, making phone calls, and staying connected with the outside world. This can hinder emergency response systems and communication networks.
  4. Impact on Infrastructure: Stage 8 load shedding puts additional strain on infrastructure, particularly backup power systems. Businesses and critical facilities that rely on backup generators may experience issues due to the prolonged hours of load shedding. There is a risk of overloading backup systems and increased maintenance requirements.
  5. Social Implications: Extended power outages can lead to social unrest and dissatisfaction among the population. Communities may face challenges in accessing basic services, including water supply, as some water infrastructure relies on electricity for pumping. The lack of power for extended periods can also impact public safety and security measures.
  6. Health and Safety Concerns: Stage 8 load shedding raises health and safety concerns, particularly for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and individuals with medical conditions. The lack of electricity can affect the functioning of medical equipment, compromise the storage of perishable goods, and impact essential services like hospitals and clinics.

Preparation and Mitigation Strategies

Given the severity of Stage 8 load shedding, it is crucial for individuals and communities to be adequately prepared and adopt mitigation strategies. Some of the recommended measures include:

  1. Backup Power Solutions: Investing in reliable backup power solutions such as generators, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, or solar power systems can significantly mitigate the impact of Stage 8 load shedding. These backup power solutions can provide electricity during 12-hour outages, ensuring essential services, critical equipment, and basic needs are met.
  1. Energy Storage Systems: Installing energy storage systems, such as batteries, can help store excess energy during periods of power supply and utilize it during load shedding. This allows for a more seamless transition during outages and minimizes disruptions to daily life and business operations.
  2. Energy Conservation: Practicing energy conservation measures becomes crucial during Stage 8 load shedding. Minimizing unnecessary energy consumption, turning off non-essential appliances and lights, and using energy-efficient devices can help stretch the available power supply and reduce the impact of outages.
  3. Preparedness and Planning: Being well-prepared and having a comprehensive load shedding plan in place is essential. This includes keeping a stock of essential supplies, such as food, water, and medicines, ensuring alternative cooking methods, and having a contingency plan for critical services.
  4. Communication and Information: Staying informed about load shedding schedules, updates, and announcements from Eskom and local municipalities is vital. Following official social media channels, subscribing to SMS alerts, or using mobile applications can provide real-time information about power cuts, allowing individuals and businesses to plan and adjust accordingly.
  5. Community Support: Building a strong community support system can be beneficial during Stage 8 load shedding. Sharing resources, information, and support with neighbors and community members can help alleviate the challenges and create a sense of unity and resilience.


The severe strain on the national power grid necessitates significant reductions in electricity supply, impacting individuals, businesses, and communities. Adequate preparation, adoption of backup power solutions, energy conservation, and staying informed are key strategies to mitigate the impact of Stage 8 load shedding. While load shedding is an unfortunate necessity, being proactive and resilient can help individuals and communities navigate through this critical stage with greater ease.

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