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South Africa 06 April 2023

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.
  • Rolling blackouts continue despite the announcement of energy reforms to eventually end outages. Supply cuts were implemented in the past year, with a record number of loadshedding days. This has continued into 2023.
  • The EAF averaged around 58% in 2022, down from 62% in 2021 and 65% in 2020. It remains well below the utility’s target of 75%. The EAF dropped to below 50% for the first time this year in the first week of January. While EAF has averaged 52.9% in Q1:23, it has increased to around 55.6% in the past week.
  • The increase in the EAF can be attributed partly to a decrease in unplanned 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) has slipped to around 31% over the past two weeks, compared to the unplanned outage factor of close to 35% in January. The planned outage factor (planned maintenance) is at 12.3% currently, down from 14% in January.
  • SA has experienced a total of 2,201 hours (as at 5 April) of loadshedding thus far in 2023. This translates into 92 full days of loadshedding and is 1,575 hours (or 65 days) short of the loadshedding in 2022.
  • The SA government announced this week that it has withdrawn the state of disaster that was imposed in February. The state of disaster was meant to enable government to accelerate its response to the ongoing electricity/energy crisis. The withdrawal came after civil rights groups opposed the declaration in court saying that government has enough power to deal with the crisis. The administration noted that it was withdrawing the state of disaster as its objective, which included appointing a minister of electricity, was achieved. Government further noted that it was able to formulate a plan to accelerate private investment and increase procurement.
  • This news coincided with another announcement by government that it is temporarily scrapping an exemption granted to Eskom from reporting irregular spending in its annual financial statements. This move also came on the back of public disagreement against the exemption. Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana noted that the exemption will be re-gazetted with the Auditor General’s considerations.

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