Eskom disaster

Eskom’s system status report warns of severe electricity generation shortages for the next year – the worst outlook it has ever produced.

Eskom’s 2023 Week 36 system status report’s 52-week outlook forecasts that electricity demand will be much higher than available generating capacity for every week of the year.

The power utility explained that the maintenance plan included a base scenario of outages in its assumptions, 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 11 September 2023 and 18 September 2024 shows that the likely risk scenario is red for all 52 weeks.

It is the first time that Eskom’s planned risk level and likely risk scenario are all red. It is essentially a warning of severe load-shedding for at least the next year.

The extremely negative electricity generation outlook comes amidst promises from high-profile politicians that load-shedding will end soon.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa also said the government is doing great work to fix Eskom and that the energy crisis and load-shedding would end by 2024.

“Energy has been a great drawback to us, but we are working on it, and we are certain that by 2024, the energy crisis will be over,” Ramaphosa said.

Last week, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said he was confident that country-wide load-shedding would be a thing of the past by next year.

“We are working closely with Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. We want to put load-shedding behind us next year,” Mashatile said.

Today, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the cabinet was assured that the increases in load-shedding were temporary.

She said there were clear plans for additional capacity to come online, and returning Kusile generation units to service would alleviate the generation shortfall.

However, Eskom’s latest system status report cast doubt over the bold promises from Ramaphosa, Mashatile, and others that load-shedding will be behind us soon.

Eskom 52 Week Outlook

The table below shows Eskom’s forecast of demand versus available generating capacity for each week for the next year.


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