South Africa now 51 days without a blackout

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  • South Africa’s state owned energy utiltiy, Eskom, is pleased to announce that following the suspension for 51 consecutive days, loadshedding (blackouts) remains suspended until further notice due to the steady ongoing improvement in reliability of its generation fleet.

The Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which commenced in March 2023, is the reason for the improvement in the reliability of the generation fleet, with its focus on accelerating and executing planned maintenance, online preventative maintenance, major plant refurbishment and life extension project. The results are increasingly now being seen in the reduction of Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF) or unplanned maintenance.

Reduction in unplanned outages

  • The UCLF of 28.4% in the financial year to date (1 April 2024 to 16 May 2024) has significantly reduced from 35.4% recorded in the same period last year (1 April 2023 to 16 May 2023).
  • This reduction serves as evidence that our generation fleet is gradually becoming more reliable.

Steady EAF improvement

  • The year-to-date EAF of 60.56% has been achieved. This is a significant 8.9% improvement compared to the same period last year (1 April 2023 to 16 May 2023), where the EAF was 51.8%.
  • The EAF improvement is a direct result of a 7% drop in the unplanned outages of generation units.
  • Eskom notes the EAF record of 70% set on 12 May 2024, and since then, the daily EAF has been maintained between 67% and 70%.

Planned Maintenance

  • The current planned maintenance of 4 334MW is consistent with our maintenance plans for this winter. 

No increased usage of Open-Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs)

  • OCGT usage is significantly lower compared to the same period for the past two years (financial year to date 1 April 2024 to 16 May 2024).
  • The OCGT load factor for 1 May to 16 May 2024 has decreased significantly to 4.76% compared to last year’s figure of 22.07% over the same period.
  • There has been no increased usage in the OCGTs again this week, and Eskom has not used OCGTs at all during the morning and evening peaks for 16 days in the financial year to date, from 1 April 2024 to 15 May 2024. In the same period last year, Eskom used OCGTs every day.
  • From 1 April 2024 to 16 May 2024, Eskom spent R1.25 billion on OCGTs, producing 179.53 GWh. This is about 76% less than from 1 April 2023 to 16 May 2023 when R5.2 billion was spent to produce 831.9GWh.

Winter 2024 outlook maintained

  • Eskom published on Friday 26 April 2024 its winter outlook which remains in force.
  • Currently, our generation performance surpasses the winter forecast for this year, which anticipated a likely scenario of unplanned outages ranging from 14 000MW to 15 500MW, with load shedding limited to Stage 2.

Skilled teams driving recovery

Eskom says their Power Station General Managers and their teams are continuing to work diligently to ensure the recovery of additional generating capacity by bringing units from unplanned outages and planned maintenance back into service as soon as possible.

A total of 3 900MW of generating capacity is planned to be returned to service by Monday 20 May 2024.

Eskom’s evening peak demand tonight, Friday 17 May 2024 is 27 436MW.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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