Eskom collapse

Eskom’s performance has plummeted in recent years, causing increased load-shedding and a rapid rise in electricity prices.

Earlier this month, Eskom’s energy availability factor (EAF) plummeted to 50.84% – well below the same period last year and a new low for February.

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.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland said it was not surprising that the EAF plummeted, considering South Africa experienced stage 6 load-shedding.

The latest data also shows that Eskom’s EAF targets – reaching 60% by 31 March 2023, 65% by 31 March 2024, and 70% by 31 March 2025 – were misguided.

The latest data shared by Yelland showed that Eskom’s EAF is on a declining downward trend, which has been the case for the past five years.

For the EAF to increase and reach Eskom’s lofty target of 70% to end load-shedding, it must first stabilise and then improve. This has not happened.

It shows that South Africans should expect load-shedding to continue for many years. This is in line with the predictions of many experts.

University of Johannesburg Professor Hartmut Winkler said Eskom’s current infrastructure has aged to the point of deterioration.

“Just like an old car, once things get to that stage, you will have those very frequent breakdowns,” he said.

He predicted that South Africa would have power problems for another five years. However, load-shedding may not be as severe as it is now.

His view aligns with Eskom’s “Medium-Term System Adequacy Outlook 2024 – 2028” report, which warned that it would not have enough electricity to serve South Africa’s needs in the next five years.

The study further indicated that the situation will worsen if the plant performance decline is not arrested and new generation capacity is not rolled out timeously.

Daily Investor tracked five important metrics over the last few years, clearly showing Eskom’s collapse.

These metrics include EAF, dispatchable generation, planned maintenance, and unplanned maintenance (breakdowns).

Particularly concerning is that breakdowns rapidly increased despite a slight increase in planned maintenance.

It shows that the current maintenance is either not enough or done so poorly that it does not serve to reduce breakdowns.

Here is a summary of five important metrics regarding the performance of Eskom’s power generation fleet.

Energy availability factor

Eskom’s EAF is calculated as the total Eskom capacity, excluding renewables, IPPs and imports, minus all outages – planned, unplanned, and other. EAF is shown as a percentage of total Eskom capacity.

Planned maintenance, measured as planned capability loss factor

The planned capability loss factor (PCLF) is the ratio of the generation units that are out on planned maintenance compared to the total net installed capacity of all units over the same period.

Breakdowns, measured as unplanned capability loss factor

Unplanned capability loss factor (UCLF) is the ratio between the units that are out on unplanned outages compared to the total net installed capacity of all units over the same period.

Dispatchable generation

Dispatchable generation is all generation resources that can be dispatched by Eskom and includes capacity available from all emergency generation resources.

Dispatchable generation availability factor

The dispatchable generation availability factor is a ratio that gives Eskom’s dispatchable generation as a percentage of its total capacity, excluding renewables, IPPs and imports.


Top JSE indices