The country has experienced rolling blackouts for several years now, with load shedding – the distribution of demand for electrical power across multiple power sources – used regularly to manage the supply.
Eskom announced the move from stage three to four on Friday, saying it may continue at this level indefinitely, and that “changes in the stages of load shedding will be more erratic”.
There are eight stages of load shedding. The move to stage four means that South Africans can expect outages – either 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.
At the highest level of load shedding, stage eight, residents can expect to be without power for up to 12 hours a day.