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South Africa 14 March 2024

Electricity Tracker

Shireen Darmalingam

  • This monthly report tracks power utility Eskom’s ability to supply power to the grid, the demand for electricity, and the consumption of electricity in order to gauge the likely impact on economic activity. It reviews Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) as well as how unplanned outages are affecting power supply in SA.
  • The EAF was at 54.8% in Q4:23, which should support an ongoing recovery in economic activity. Still, this remains below the average of around 59% in 2022, which was already down from 62% in 2021 and 65% in 2020. It also remains well below the utility’s near-term target of 65% (and longer-term target of 75%).
  • The EAF improved steadily over the course of 2023, from below 50% at the beginning of that year to a high of just over 60%. This can be attributed partly to fewer unplanned and planned outages. The unplanned outage factor (ratio of energy losses over a given time period to the maximum amount of energy which could be produced over the same time period) was at 31.42% in Q4:23, compared to an average of 33.42% in Q3:23. It had reached a peak of 38.6% earlier in Q2:23. The planned outage factor (planned maintenance) is around 12.3%, down from a peak of close to 18% at the beginning of Q2:23. The EAF ended below 50% at the end of 2023 but has since improved to an average of 51.7% so far this year.
  • The decrease in the level of loadshedding by several stages in H2:23 came on the back of a combination of factors, including an increase in the imports of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels last year, which supports our view that private-sector electricity storage and self-generation capacity is growing rapidly. Lower levels of unplanned and planned outages have also contributed to a decline in the level of loadshedding against earlier expectations. Eskom has, however, noted that it would continue with its planned maintenance projects.
  • SA Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa revealed Eskom’s new 10-point plan as the power utility seeks to turn around the electricity crisis. The minister noted that better coal management, improved internal policy and procedures, increased procurement and funding are key among the 10-point plan. Ramokgopa further noted that planned maintenance had increased from around 3,120MW in May 2023, to 7,307MW in February.
  • SA has experienced a total of 1,430 hours loadshedding thus far in 2024. This translates into 59 full days of loadshedding this year. There were 289 days of loadshedding in 2023.
  • SA has experienced cumulative loadshedding of 1,986 GWh thus far in 2024. It was a cumulative 4,331 GWh in the comparable period in 2023. However, several Eskom units have already returned to commercial operation and will continue to help alleviate loadshedding pressure this year. We expect economic growth at 1.2% in 2024, supported by the return to commercial operation of several Eskom generating units and increased self-generation. However, with the unreliable performance of Eskom’s existing fleet, risks to the growth outlook remain to the downside.

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