• November 3, 2023 1:12 pm

How Eskom Managed an Extended Load Shedding Suspension

Oct 30, 2023
How Eskom Managed an Extended Load Shedding Suspension

Eskom has decided to reinstate load shedding, shifting between stage 2 and stage 3, after a nine-day period without power interruptions. The utility is doing this to replenish emergency reserves in anticipation of increased electricity demand due to cold weather. The following explains the situation and its implications.

How Eskom Managed an Extended Load Shedding Suspension

Load Shedding Resumes in Stages

  • Eskom will implement stage 2 load shedding from 16:00 on Sunday, October 29, until 16:00 on Monday, October 30.
  • Following this, a rotational pattern of stage 2 and stage 3 load shedding will occur, with stage 3 from 16:00 to 05:00 and stage 2 from 05:00 to 16:00, repeating daily until further notice.
  • This marks the end of the longest period without load shedding since late 2022.

Analysis of Recent Performance

  • Independent energy analyst Pieter Jordaan noted that last week marked the best performance in over 400 days.
  • The demand during the suspension of load shedding has been notably lower than typical profiles, thanks to more conscientious energy use and increased rooftop solar installations.
  • Eskom’s plant performance has improved, with the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) exceeding 60%, outperforming comparable periods in 2021 and 2022.
  • Despite improvements, the EAF is still below the minimum set by energy regulator Nersa (65%), and Eskom continues to operate on a precarious balance.

Challenges as Demand Rises

  • Colder weather is expected, leading to a shift in electricity demand, which Eskom must address.
  • Eskom has employed double the annual average level of Open Cycle Gas Turbine peaking energy to sustain the extended suspension, breaking the emergency margin of 2.2 GW for three consecutive days.

Eskom’s current load shedding schedule will be based on the aforementioned rotational pattern of stage 2 and stage 3. The situation may change, so the utility will closely monitor the power system and communicate any updates as required.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *