Graphic of Power Alert phases

Televised Power Alerts make a difference

Wednesday, 27 January 2021: Eskom thanks all consumers who have responded to Power Alerts by switching off all unnecessary lights and appliances between 5pm and 9pm – the period of peak demand for electricity in most homes in South Africa. This resulted in a reduction of 368MW (megawatts) in the demand for electricity during October 2020 in the case of Red Alerts. 

This reduction is enough to power approximately 171 963 urban residential homes (taking diversity into account) during the evening peak.

The televised Power Alert initiative informs the public about the real-time status of the electricity network and empowers consumers to contribute to the solution by reducing the usage of electricity.  The colour-coded alerts inform residential electricity users if the system is either stable, or under severe pressure. When the power system is under severe pressure Eskom turns to the people to request them to turn off “all unnecessary electrical appliances – lights, geysers, pool pumps and non-essential appliances”.  The operational system provides a real-time link to four television broadcasters – SABC, eTV, DStv as well as Open View.

“South Africa will continue to experience electricity shortages for the foreseeable future; and your continued assistance by switching off lights and appliances in response to the Power Alert system is commendable and highly appreciated as it goes a long way to alleviate the shortages,” says Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Eskom Spokesperson.    

The Power Alert system is categorised into four levels, namely:

  • When the system is GREEN, the power grid is stable, and this provides a warning that the electricity usage is increasing.  South Africans are then encouraged to switch off the lights and appliances that they don’t need.
  • When the system turns ORANGE, this is a warning that the National Power Grid is strained and there is an urgent need to turn off all unnecessary electrical appliances such as lights you don’t need, your geyser and your swimming pool pump.
  • When the gauge on the Power Alert system turns RED, the National Power System is under immense pressure and this requires immediate assistance of every consumer to turn off all lights you don’t need, geyser and all non-essential appliances.
  • If the Power Alert system turns BLACK, then the National Power System is under severe strain and loadshedding is in progress.

Please remember to keep an eye out for and respond to the real-time Power Alert messages on the various TV stations to help manage the strain on the electricity system in order to for us all to make a difference and keep the lights on.  


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