Electricity minister delivers weekly spin on South Africa’s energy crisis

  • Interventions at Eskom power stations have been able to slash load shedding by some 600 hours during the December and January 2023/24 period as compared to the previous year. 
  • A further 3510MW of capacity has been clawed back into the system over the past year as a result of interventions at power stations. 
  • This was revealed by Minister of Electricity in the Presidency, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, in his usual  spin on the state of the country’s energy sector and the Energy Action Plan yesterday.

South Africans can face up to 16 hours of daily blackouts daily at any given time. The energy crisis in the country, has largely been caused by poor planning, mismanagement, corruption, fraud, looting and sabotage under the leadership of the ANC government. Read more

The country currently finds itself with a de facto government in the form of the Ministry in the Presidency pitted against the regular government against the background of flawed Draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 plus a proper and legally compliant Integrated Energy PlanRamokgopa, who has a mandate but no authority to overcome the energy crisis in South Africa , is appointed in the Ministry of the Presidency. Read more

“Over the period…of January 2023 to January 2024, we have been able to get back 3510MW as a result of interventions. These interventions are not complete. There’s still additional work that we must do at Tutuka [Power Station]. There’s additional work that continues to be done at Kendal, Matla and the other power stations.

“If you were to take December of 2022 to February of 2023 and then you take the period of December 2023 to February 2024…the period of the year that was, we have experienced load shedding of about 1800 hours. When you see the period a year later…we have had about 1200 hours of load shedding. Essentially, we have been able to reduce the hours of load shedding by about 600 hours. We are going in the right direction,” he said.

“The reduction in the intensity and frequency of loadshedding as well as the positive EAF trajectory are the real signs that there is some improvement in the performance of the generation fleet. The focus remains on sustaining this trajectory,” he added.

Ramokgopa provided no evidence of his claims on the gain in capacity and the reduction in loadshedding hours and has been known to make false statements in past. Read more 

In reality, the latest Eskom Energy Availability Factor (EAF) for Week 7, 2024, is 52.79%, with the year-to-date EAF slightly lower than for the same period last year. This despite the return to service of 3 x 800 MW generator units (Units 1, 2 and 3) at Eskom Kusile Power station in November 2023, and the synchronisation of Kusile Unit 4 to the grid in December 2023. Loadshedding (blackouts) are a daily occurrence.

Eskom week-on-week energy availability factor EAF for 2023. Data source: Eskom. Image credit: Chris Yelland. Chris is an energy analyst, consultant, electrical engineer, public speaker, writer and MD at EE Business Intelligence (Pty) Ltd. Follow Chris on X – @chrisyelland

The Minister added further that while maintenance of power stations has been ramped up – allowing generating units to work more at intended capacity and for longer – and load shedding intensity has slowed slightly, there will be setbacks like that which occurred over the past few weeks which plunged the country into Stage 4 and 6 load shedding. Last week Kendal coal power station lost five generation units in one night shift. Read more

“We are going to have temporary setbacks; this was a setback. The team identified what was the root cause. These lessons will then be exported to other power stations so that we don’t suffer similar fates,” said Ramokgopa.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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