Code red at Eskom until August 2024

Eskom’s latest system status report shows it is facing a severe generation shortage with a high likelihood of load-shedding for the next year.

Eskom’s 2023 Week 29 system status report’s 52-week outlook forecasts that electricity demand will be much higher than available generating capacity.

The power utility explained that the maintenance plan included in its assumptions includes a base scenario of outages, also known as a planned risk level.

As there is a possibility of further outages, Eskom included an additional 1,500 MW of outages on the base plan as a “likely risk scenario”.

Eskom used colour codes ranging from green (no shortage) to red (worst case), indicating the absence or presence of a capacity constraint, as shown below:

  • Green – Adequate generation to meet demand and reserves
  • Yellow – Smaller than 1,000 MW, possibly short to meet reserves
  • Orange – 1,001 MW to 2,000 MW, definitely short to meet reserves and possibly demand
  • Red – Over 2,001 MW short to meet demand and reserves

The outlook between 7 August 2023 and 22 July 2024 shows that the likely risk scenario is red for all except four weeks.

The four weeks, three of which are in December 2023, when electricity demand is very low, still show a shortage and a high likelihood of load-shedding.

The table below shows that South Africans should prepare for high levels of load-shedding for at least the next year.

Energy availability factor

Eskom’s declining energy availability factor (EAF) shows why South Africa is facing severe electricity shortages and load-shedding.

The EAF reflects the percentage of Eskom’s fleet producing electricity relative to its maximum potential generating capacity.

Over the last six years, Eskom’s EAF has plummeted from around 80% to the 2023 year-to-date level of 54%.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland highlighted that Eskom’s EAF for the first 28 weeks of the year is 5.28 percentage points lower than the same period last year.

The chart below, courtesy of Yelland and EE Business Intelligence, shows Eskom’s EAF for the first 28 weeks of the 2023 calendar year in grey.


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