Winter load-shedding warning – but not stage 6

Eskom warned that South Africans may see load-shedding this winter, but it will likely be limited to stage 2 and capped at stage 5.

Eskom presented its Winter 2024 Outlook today, where CEO Dan Marokane said the utility’s performance over the past year had improved significantly

This strong performance over the past few weeks has placed the utility in a much stronger position ahead of winter 2024 compared to 2023.

For winter 2023, while there were fears that load shedding could hit stage 8 or even beyond, Eskom managed to stay within the targetted ranges of load shedding, sticking to a range of stage 2 to stage 4.

This has led to a measurable improvement in operations, including less frequent and less intense load shedding – to the point that April has not seen any outages, and load shedding has been kept at bay for 30 consecutive days.

Since the 2023 Winter outlook, Eskom has continued to boost its performance.

In particular, he said Eskom has seen a positive trend in reducing unplanned load losses, leading to a reduction in load-shedding intensity and frequency over the 2024 financial year’s summer period.

As a result, there has been a reduction in the unreliability assumptions for winter 2024 of about 1,000 MW.

On top of this, Eskom wants to target a 1,700 MW reduction in unplanned losses and approximately 400 MW of additional demand-side management initiatives.

This should limit load-shedding to stage 2 in the coming Winter months, where demand tends to increase.

In the target or planned-for case – outages at 15,500 MW – South Africa is expected to see 50 days of load-shedding, either at stage 1 or 2.

However, the current system performance is leaning towards the base case – 14,000 MW of outages – which will see only five days of stage 1 load-shedding.

Marokane said that in the “extreme” case, where the group suffers breakdowns exceeding 17,000 MW, the range pushes up to between stage 2 and stage 5 over 103 days.

Therefore, the likely winter outlook scenario indicates that load-shedding will be limited to stage 2, given the improvement in the generation fleet performance since Eskom’s last Winter outlook.

“Through disciplined execution and single-minded focus on our Generation Recovery Plan, we expect load-shedding intensity to continue to reduce,” the utility said.

Eskom said it is focusing on 4 areas to deliver 382 MW of demand reduction during the 2024 Winter period. This will assist in alleviating pressure on the electricity system.

Source: BusinessTech


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