Load shedding coupled with cold weather is a reality that many South Africans are grappling with each day.
On Wednesday, Eskom issued an urgent plea to citizens, urging them to reduce their electricity usage, citing the cold snap as a driving force behind the surge in electricity demand.
The power utility went further to caution that South Africa might be forced to endure Stage 7 or even Stage 8 load shedding if electricity consumption was not significantly reduced.
This comes in the wake of the recent implementation of indefinite Stage 6 load shedding.
Though Eskom has not yet officially introduced Stage 7 and Stage 8 load shedding, it's essential to understand the implications should such measures be implemented.
Under these stages, an alarming reduction of up to 7,000MW and 8,000MW, respectively, would be necessary, resulting in power outages lasting between 10 and 12 hours each day, organised into staggered blocks of two and four hours.
Energy analyst Lungile Mashele has emphasised that if Eskom were to reach these critical stages, South Africa should brace itself for the grim reality of enduring electricity shortages for approximately 12 to 14 hours daily.
Eskom's call for citizens to reduce their electricity consumption is not only a plea for cooperation, but also a crucial step to alleviate pressure on the energy system and prevent the escalation to higher and more disruptive stages of load shedding.