Eskom’s performance has significantly improved over the past weeks, with its energy availability factor (EAF) breaching the 60% barrier for the first time in a year.
Eskom further defied the usual declining trend in summer, allowing the utility to suspend load-shedding for the longest period in 2023 so far.
This was revealed by energy analyst Chris Yelland, with a graph detailing Eskom’s EAF over the past three years.
The EAF shows the percentage of time the power station was available for use when it was needed. It is a core measure of performance for any power utility.
Over the last few weeks, Eskom’s EAF has significantly improved, reaching 60.46% in week 42 of 2023.
Importantly, this indicates that Eskom is defying the usual declining trend as we head toward mid-summer due to the return of Kusile Units 1, 2 and 3 to service after being broken down for over a year.
Yelland explained that the gap between the week-on-week EAF trend graphs from the beginning of the 2022 and 2023 calendar years has been closing.
“At the beginning of the year, we were in a much worse situation than at the same time last year,” Yelland told Newzroom Afrika.
“Over the year, the difference between the Energy Availability Factor in 2022 and the Energy Availability Factor of 2023 has gradually and consistently lessened – to the point where we are now, where the EAF last week is about the same as it was a year ago.”
“This means that from a state much worse than last year, we are now back to a similar position that we were in last year.”
However, Yelland said it is important to remember that, even if there is no more load-shedding for the rest of this year, Eskom would still have performed worse than last year.
“We would have had more hours of load-shedding and more energy loss to the productive economy this year than last year. So, we are not where we should be, but we are heading in the right direction.”
Yelland congratulated Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa in particular. “All of these things coming together is what is solving the problem, and that’s what I like about the new Minister of Electricity,” he said.
“He is crossing the previous boundaries between the different players: Eskom, municipalities, and government.”
“The old mantra proposed by our Minister of Minerals and Energy is completely wrong – this idea that we should stick to our lane. No, we should break down the boundaries between these silos. We should work together.”
He said the appointment of a single Electricity Minister, whose sole task and accountability is to end load-shedding, brought a new sense of accountability and urgency to the problem.
“It is a team effort, but he’s managed to bring the team together, and that’s a very notable achievement.”
Eskom energy availability factor
The chart below, courtesy of Yelland and EE Business Intelligence, shows Eskom’s EAF for the first 42 weeks of the 2023 calendar year.