Eskom claims vast improvements to grid yet Stage 3 lingers

  • Eskom has announced that six of its coal-fired power stations are running at 70 percent energy availability.
  • The last time the state-owned power utility hit this milestone was in May 2022.
  • Despite improvements to power generation, South Africa is still on Stage 3 loadshedding.

After a few hours of Stage 1 loadshedding during the previous weekend, Eskom returned to Stages 4 and 5 as of Monday. This was downgraded to Stage 3 on Wednesday with the power utility indicating that this would remain until further notice citing a general improvement in its generation capacity.

On Thursday evening, Eskom announced that its generation capacity had improved even further and it has managed to achieve an energy availability factor of 70 percent across six of its coal-fired power stations.

It says the last time this stability milestone was reached was on 8th May 2022.

“Three of these power stations, Camden, Duvha and Matla, have been on a sustained upward trend as a result of a reduction of plant breakdowns and the return to service of a number of units that were on unplanned breakdowns,” the utility shares in a Twitter post.

Eskom then claims that the Lethabo, Matimba and Medupi stations have been experiencing good performance and “remain among Eskom’s three best-performing stations.”

Lethabo in particular was able to bounce back quickly after a dreaded “wet coal” incident took place due to flooding last week, Eskom says.

Despite the improved capacity, however, South Africa remains at Stage 3 blackouts. Eskom’s energy grid is also infamously unstable, so South Africans shouldn’t expect this heightened level of generation to be a mainstay for too long.

“While this is still early progress, it shows a positive trajectory from actions taken to recover Eskom generation plants. This is consistent with Eskom’s target to achieve 70 percent EAF by 2025 financial year,” says Eskom’s acting chief executive Calib Cassim.

Cassim took over the top post from Andre de Ruyter last month when the former CEO was unceremoniously ousted from the post after an explosive tell-all interview.

He continued that the marked improvement across its fleet “gives assurance that if [Eskom continues] to apply an all-hands-on-deck approach we will continue to improve the energy availability.”

Eskom concludes that it continues to pursue its generation recovery programmes to recover operations.

On Thursday, the newly appointed Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, aka “Sputla,” launched the Resource Mobilisation Fund (RMF). This new fund will go towards supporting the government’s Energy Action Plan and efforts to ease loadshedding in South Africa.

[Image – Jack Carter on Unsplash]


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