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South Africa 09 July 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 – 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 52.6% in Q1:24 and improved to an average of 61.17% in Q2:24 and should support an ongoing recovery in economic activity. This is above the average of 54.8% in 2023. It is only slightly below the utility’s near-term target of 65% (but still notably below the longer-term target of 75%). SA’s Electricity Minister recently expressed confidence in Eskom achieving the 65% EAF target and being on target to achieve 75% by the end of March next year. Eskom has announced that six of its generation power stations have recorded an EAF of 70% and higher: Medupi, Kusile, Matimba, Matla, Hendrina, and Grootvlei. The utility added that, despite facing unplanned outages totalling 12 071 MW, the available capacity increased to 32 910 MW, a level last achieved in August 2021. 
  • The EAF improved steadily over the course of 2023, from below 50% at the beginning of that year to a high of just below 64% in Q2:24. This can be attributed partly to fewer unplanned outages. The unplanned outage factor (ratio of energy losses over a given time to the maximum amount of energy which could be produced over the same time period) was at 30.57% in Q1:24 and dropped to 27.29% in Q2:24. The planned outage factor (planned maintenance) is just under 11% in the quarter to date, down from an average of 15.9% in Q1:24. It averaged 10.4% in the comparable period in 2023 (Q2).
  • The decrease in the level of loadshedding by several stages earlier this year, and the suspension of loadshedding since 26 March came on the back of a combination of factors, including an increase in the imports of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels, which supports our view that private-sector electricity storage and self-generation capacity are growing rapidly. Lower levels of unplanned outages have also contributed to a decline in the level of loadshedding, against earlier expectations.
  • SA has experienced a total of 1,656 hours loadshedding thus far in 2024. This translates into 69 full days of loadshedding this year. There were 289 full days of loadshedding in 2023.
  • SA has experienced cumulative loadshedding of 2,764 GWh thus far in 2024. It was a cumulative 10,522 GWh in the comparable period in 2023. Several Eskom units have returned to commercial operation and will continue to help alleviate loadshedding pressure this year. Eskom has noted that the ongoing improvements to its generation performance over the past months have allowed it to reduce loadshedding significantly. As such, loadshedding has been suspended now for 104 consecutive days. We expect economic growth at 1.1% in 2024, with growth picking up more materially in H2:24 and supported by the return to commercial operation of several Eskom generating units and increased self-generation. However, risks to the growth outlook remain to the downside, should flare-ups of loadshedding recur.

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