Energy analyst Chris Yelland said the government is misleading South Africans by claiming that Eskom’s energy availability factor (EAF) is nearing 70%.
Yelland’s comments followed a statement from the cabinet which welcomed the improvement in Eskom’s energy availability factor, which it said “is now closer to 70%”.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa also said Eskom could maintain a much lower stage of load shedding due to the improvement of the EAF.
Ramokgopa said Eskom is much closer to achieving its target of 70% EAF and that it has been consistent on an average of 60% for the past 14 days.
“We are getting much closer to the target of 70% EAF that we had promised,” Ramokgopa said during a virtual meeting at the end of June.
Yelland slated these comments, saying that Eskom’s EAF is still on a downward trend when considering the year-on-year change.
“The latest Eskom week-on-week energy availability factor is nowhere near 70% and is reported officially today by Eskom as 58.31% for Week 26 of 2023,” he said.
He added Eskom’s year-to-date EAF is 53.77%, down significantly from 59.35% for the same period in 2022.
“The government’s messaging that the energy availability factor is heading upwards and is close to 70% is just not true,” he said.
Although there has been an increase in EAF over the last few weeks, this is not strange and happens every year.
“As we head into winter from summer, the energy availability factor always rises towards a peak in the middle of winter. It then declines towards the summer months,” Yelland said.
“What we are seeing at the moment is following a similar trend with a rising EAF heading to the peak of winter.”
Therefore, the increased energy availability factor is not unexpected, and the rise is still lower than last year.
Unlike the government’s message that the increase in EAF is something to celebrate, it should be expected to rise as it is planned every year.
Eskom EAF in 2023
The chart below, courtesy of Yelland and EE Business Intelligence, shows Eskom’s EAF for the first 22 weeks of the 2023 calendar year.