South Africa’s Electricity Minister says that ‘planned maintenance’ is cause of stage 6 blackouts

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  • South Africa’s Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, briefed the media along with Eskom’s head of generation, Bheki Nxumalo on Tuesday following Eskom’s announcement that stage 6 blackouts will be implemented in the country this week.

Ramokgopa said Eskom will be using the recent funding from Treasury for planned maintenance which, in the short-term, it’s going to result in the possibility of intensified load shedding over the next few months because it ovelaps with unplanned breakdowns. Treasury has specifically released the funding to service Eskom’s debt. Read more 

Nxumalo said that they should be able to reduce the level of blackouts later in the week as some generation units are recovered and pump storage returns to service.

The dire situation, which now seemingly is as a result of a pre-determined decision, was not communicated to the people of South Africa beforehand. Increasingly, it is becoming challenging to take Ramokgopa’s updates on the status of the system at Eskom seriously because it is riddled with contradiction. Read more

Energy availability factor concerns

The energy availability factor (EAF) determines blackout outcomes and is in decline year on year for the past three years. This means that Eskom’s ability to generate power is declining annually.

Image credit: Eskom

Respected energy analysts, Chris Yelland from EE Business Intelligence, explains that graphs 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.

The graph for 2023 shows that if the same trends are followed from the previous two years, Eskom’s EAF will decline further over the next four months. This means that the country can expect intensified and higher levels of blackouts leading into year end.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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