- South Africa has now had more hours of power cuts than it did in 2022.
- Despite this, Eskom reports that energy availability sat at a factor of 60 percent over the past 14 days.
- The utility has also said that unplanned maintenance is trending downward as maintenance helps prevent breakdowns happening unexpectedly.
Today marks a new record being set by Eskom as the utility accumulates 3 805 hours of loadshedding in 2023.
This is according to independent loadshedding alert app, EskomSePush which has data regarding loadshedding dating back to 2014. At the weekend, thanks to Stage 1 and 3 loadshedding throughout the day, loadshedding hours shot past 2022’s numbers. This is slightly good news considering that 3 776 hours of loadshedding were racked up in little over four months in 2022.
The reason we aren’t seeing more loadshedding may be down to a constantly improving energy availability factor.
“The EAF has been consistent on an average of 60% for the past 14 days. We are getting much closer to the target of 70% EAF that we had promised, and the benefit will be to the South African economy, households and the ability to ensure that we achieve the levels of growth that are necessary to improve the performance of the economy,” Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said at the weekend.
As much as 400MW of capacity has been added to the grid. There is yet more to be added thanks to an emissions standards exemption, integrated power plans and the likes of Karpowership adding capacity.
The utility says that it is hoping to bring unplanned maintenance down to 15 000MW. The utility has managed to bring the average of unplanned maintenance down from 15 870MW to 15 157MW.
“For the first time, we are beginning to go below 15 000MW. We have registered multiple instances where we have gone below the 15 000MW of unplanned capability lost factor, which is an illustration of the degree to which improvements are made, and we are able to keep that consistent over a period of time,” Ramokgopa told SA News.
The outlook for loadshedding and the ongoing energy crisis then, is not as grim as it was a few months ago. As of time of writing, loadshedding has been suspended between the hours of 05:00 and 16:00 daily, giving businesses respite from the unending power cuts that could eat into 12 hours of the day.
It’s comforting to see government working to address the energy crisis but we aren’t calling this a win until loadshedding looks like it did in 2016 and 2017. That’s to say, non-existent.