South Africa

Code red at Eskom


Eskom’s latest system status report shows that the power utility is facing a severe generation shortage with a high likelihood of load-shedding for the next year.

The status report’s 52-week outlook forecasts electricity demand versus available generating capacity.

Colour codes ranging from green (no shortage) to red (worst case) indicate the absence or presence of a capacity constraint, as shown below.

  • Green – Adequate generation to meet demand and reserves.
  • Yellow – Smaller than 1,000MW, possibly short to meet reserves.
  • Orange – 1,001MW to 2,000MW, definitely short to meet reserves and possibly demand.
  • Red – Over 2,001MW short to meet demand and reserves.

The outlook between 5 September 2022 and 11 September 2023 shows that the likely risk scenario is in the red for 49 out of the 52 weeks.

The other three weeks are orange, which still shows a shortage and a high likelihood of load-shedding.

Professor Anton Eberhard, the director of Power Futures Lab at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, warned that people should prepare for the year ahead.

“If you’ve not yet bought your home or business solar PV and battery system yet, now’s the time,” said Eberhard.

Eskom 52-Week Outlook

Energy availability factor

Eskom’s declining energy availability factor (EAF) shows why South Africa is facing severe electricity shortages and load-shedding.

The EAF reflects the percentage of Eskom’s fleet producing electricity relative to its maximum potential generating capacity.

Over the last six years, Eskom’s energy availability factor has plummeted from around 80% to the current level of around 60%.

Energy expert Chris Yelland said, “we are now in week 36 with Stage 4 load shedding, so I expect the EAF for week 36 to show a significant drop”.

The chart below shows Eskom’s week-on-week energy availability factor from week 1, 2016, to week 35, 2022.

Eskom energy availability factor (EAF)


Top JSE indices