Eskom code red – with severe electricity shortages

Eskom’s latest system status report shows it will face severe electricity shortages for the next twelve months, which will result in significant load-shedding.

Eskom’s 2023 Week 44 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 ahead.

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 8 November 2023 and 11 November 2024 shows that the likely risk scenario is red for all 52 weeks.

The very poor outlook comes amidst politicians promising the country that the situation at Eskom is improving and that they are winning the war against load-shedding.

On 30 October 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation that the electricity supply is improving thanks to government interventions.

However, the latest data from Eskom shows that South Africa’s electricity crisis remains of great concern without significant improvements.

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

Electricity shortfall likely to remain for 5 years

Eskom’s “Medium-Term System Adequacy Outlook 2024 – 2028” report showed that Eskom’s problems will unlikely be resolved soon.

The newly released study reviews the anticipated electricity generation resources to meet South Africa’s forecasted demand in the next five years.

It showed South Africa will have a significant electricity generation shortfall over the next five years – even with moderate electricity demand growth.

As part of the study, Eskom also released unserved energy data measured in gigawatt hours (GWh) for the last seven years.

When there is not enough electricity supply to meet remand, the system operator implements load shedding and curtailment to ensure a stable power system.

Eskom revealed that its electricity supply was so low over the last year that it was forced to cut 14,583 GWh (14.58 TWh) year to date.

Although it was much higher than the 8,116 GWh (8.12 TWh) in 2022, the year is not over yet, and the figure will, therefore, continue to rise.

The chart below from Eskom’s Medium-Term System Adequacy Outlook 2024 – 2028 shows the catastrophic increase in load-shedding in recent years.


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