Eskom’s load-shedding disaster

Eskom revealed that load-shedding increased by 331% over the last financial year and is likely to worsen this financial year.

Eskom interim CEO Calib Cassim shared this data during the power utility’s financial results presentation for the year ended March 2023.

Cassim also revealed that the utility’s energy availability factor (EAF) worsened from 62.02% to 56.03% in 2023 due to generation supply constraints and shortfall from the IPP programmes.

“Eskom’s generating plant availability reached the lowest levels ever due to unprecedented levels of unplanned unavailability,” he said.

Another factor which contributed to load-shedding was IPP capacity – both renewable and other programmes – has not come online as expected under the IRP 2019.

This contributed to an energy shortfall of more than 5,100 GWh for the year, requiring increased levels of load-shedding.

It also forced Eskom to burn more diesel to run its open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) to produce an additional 2,000 GWh for the year.

The electricity shortfall forced Eskom to implement load-shedding to maintain the supply and demand balance and ensure sufficient reserve capacity.

The reserve capacity is needed to respond to significant unplanned breakdowns or disruptions to supply and protect the power system against a blackout.

The lower EAF and lower-than-expected IPP capacity resulted in load-shedding intensifying from 65 days in the 2022 financial year to 280 days in the 2023 financial year – a 331% increase.

The hours of load-shedding over the last year rose from 1,011 hours in 2022 to 5,557 hours in 2023 – a 450% increase.

Cassim said additional dispatchable capacity of 4,000 MW to 6,000MW is required immediately to support the stability of the power system.

More generation capacity is also needed to create breathing room for maintenance to improve Eskom’s performance and avoid future load-shedding.

The chart below shows the year-on-year increase in load-shedding over the 2023 financial year.


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