South African minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni spins nonsense about loadshedding outlook

  • After having extensive meetings focusing on the country’s energy crisis, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said yesterday that Cabinet has been given the assurance that the current higher stages of load shedding are temporary.
  • Eskom’s own unplanned outage assumption for the coming 12 months contradicts Ntshavheni’s announcement spectacularly. 

“Cabinet is assured that the increases in load shedding are indeed temporary. There are clear plans for when additional capacity will come through. There is the return to service of Kusile units 1 to 4. There is also additional work being done. But, Cabinet is assured that, in terms of the measures being taken, the increase in load shedding stages is indeed a temporary measure,” she said. The Minister added that government was confident in its ability to resolve load shedding.

Making such an irresponsible announcement brings the integrity of the Minister into question. The  people of South Africa face up to 16 hours of blackouts daily and the outlook from the country’s energy utility, Eskom, paints an entirely different picture.

Eskom’s ability to generate electricity is in decline year on year and accordingly, affects loadhsedding levels negatively.

Information source: Eskom

Respected energy analysts, Chris Yelland from EE Business Intelligence, explains that graphs above show Eskom energy availability factor (EAF) from week 1, 2021, to week 34, 2023. EAF for week 34, 2023, is 55.32%, compared to 61.10% for week 34, 2022. The EAF for the 2023 calendar year to date is 54.52%, compared to 59.78% for the same period in 2022.

Earlier this week Eskom reported stage 6 loadshedding (blackouts) with breakdowns are currently at 16 784MW of generating capacity while the capacity out of service for planned maintenance is 4 987MW. That is 21471MW out of service from a total of around 58000MW of total generation capacity from all technologies.

Eskom’s unplanned outage assumption for the coming 12 months contradicts Ntshavheni’s announcement spectacularly and speaks for itself. The risk of ongoing high stages of blackouts remains high.

Eskom unplanned outage assumption for next 12 months. Source: Eskom

Eskom has failed to provide a generation status update since Tuesday on all platforms since Tuesday triggering concerns that the country is currently experiencing stage 7 blackouts or higher.   Source: Eskom twitter (X) 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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