What is the difference between power cut and load shedding?

Load shedding is always a pre-planned measure, usually announced early in the morning. Ample warning is given by the utility, who are very clear when they communicate the stage of load shedding, the time it will take place, and who it’s going to affect. If you’re going to be incompetent, at least be open about it…

Power outages do not work this way. Load shedding schedules impact the whole country, whereas outages are almost always a local issue.


The best way to check if load shedding is in place or not is by visiting our dedicated page that instructs you how to check the schedule.

Alternatively, following Eskom’s Twitter account comes in handy. If the power is down, simply visit their page and check their recent posts. If there’s no mention of load shedding on that particular day, you are experiencing a power outage.

Non-Eskom related cuts will usually be communicated by the city if they are related to maintenance work. However, citizens are urged to contact their local municipalities if there is a loss of electricity that is neither related to load shedding nor work in the local area.


Load shedding tends to occur in blocks of two hours at a time, with only Johannesburg having to brave four-hour stints. Power outages are much less predictable and can drag on for a matter of days rather than hours.


Load shedding: A shortage in the generational supply, technical faults with power plants, insufficient coal & water reserves and to a lesser extent, extreme weather events.

Power outages: Equipment failures which “trip” the local grid, network overload, illegal power connections, sustained periods of poor weather, cable theft or deliberate disconnection (planned works, etc).