- 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 averaged 54.7% in Q4:23, up from lower levels earlier in the year, and 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 improvement in the EAF since the beginning of 2023 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) is at 30.27% in Q4:23, compared to an average of 33.42% in Q3:23. It reached a peak of 38.6% earlier in Q2:23. The planned outage factor (planned maintenance) averaged 13.0% in Q4:23.
- The decrease in the level of loadshedding by several stages from May through to December came on the back of a combination of factors, including an increase in imports of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels since the start of 2023, which supports our view that private-sector electricity storage and self-generation capacity are growing rapidly, as well as lower demand over the festive period. Lower levels of unplanned and planned outages have also contributed to a decline in the level of loadshedding against earlier expectations.
- The Minister of Public Enterprises appointed Dan Marokane as new Group Chief Executive of Eskom in December. While there were fewer days of loadshedding in December over the festive period, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa this week reiterated that, while Eskom is working hard on improving its generation system, SA can still expect various stages of loadshedding, and this despite several Kusile units returning to service. The minister said that most units are still unreliable. This is, however, being addressed through the planned maintenance that Eskom is conducting routinely. In its Summer Outlook, Eskom noted that SA should not be at more than Stage 4 level of loadshedding throughout the summer months.
- SA experienced a total of 6,947 hours loadshedding in 2023. This translates into 289 full days of loadshedding this year. There were 157 days of loadshedding in 2022.
- SA experienced cumulative loadshedding of 16,823 GWh in 2023, compared to 8,293 GWh in 2022. However, several Eskom units have returned to the grid, reducing the average level of loadshedding by up to two Stages. We expect economic growth at 0,6% for 2023 and 1,4% in 2024, supported by the return to the grid 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.