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Eskom and Load Shedding Take a Big Turn in South Africa

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Eskom and Load Shedding Take a Big Turn in South Africa

For the first time in 2023, Eskom’s weekly Energy Availability Factor (EAF) is better than the same period in 2022 and 2021. The EAF improvement coincides with a reprieve from load shedding. However, the credit for lower levels of load shedding may be attributed to factors other than improved energy supply.

Eskom and Load Shedding Take a Big Turn in South Africa

EAF Below Minimum

Eskom’s EAF remains below 60%, falling far short of the 65% minimum set by energy regulator Nersa, indicating that energy supply hasn’t necessarily seen significant improvements.

Reduced Demand and Rooftop Solar

Data suggests that the decrease in load shedding is largely due to significantly lower energy demand, especially during the summer months. South Africa has experienced a surge in self-generation and renewable energy, particularly rooftop solar installations.

Data and Analysis

Independent energy analyst Pieter Jordaan’s statistics show an improvement in Eskom’s performance, with lower unplanned losses and fewer breakdowns, resulting in more power availability.

However, Eskom’s energy supply is still below the levels seen in 2021 and 2022, and the improvement can be attributed to reduced demand rather than significant supply enhancements.

Rooftop Solar Uptake

Since the beginning of 2023, South Africa has nearly doubled its potential rooftop photovoltaic (PV) capacity, increasing from 2.6 GWp in December 2022 to 4.9 GWp by September 2023. This growth is likely due to a surge in rooftop solar installations.

Cyclical Pattern

The data suggests a cyclical pattern of increased rooftop PV uptake that typically starts around October.

While the return of units at Kusile will help boost power availability, Eskom still faces challenges in meeting demand, despite the reduction in load shedding due to decreased energy demand and the rise in rooftop solar installations.

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Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

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Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

Power utility Eskom has initiated Stage 3 load shedding starting from 4 pm and continuing until 5 am. This load shedding pattern will be followed by Stage 1 and 2 power cuts. The breakdown of certain generating units has necessitated these power cuts.

Load Shedding Reduced to Stage 1: In Effect Until Saturday Afternoon

In the last 24 hours, one generating unit each from Camden, Majuba, and Medupi power stations, along with two generating units at Arnot power station, were taken offline for necessary repairs.

Simultaneously, two generating units at Kriel power station have been restored to service.

Eskom’s teams are diligently working to expedite the return of additional generating units to active service.

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