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South Africa 08 May 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.
  • 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 below 50% for the first time this year in the first week of January. While EAF averaged 52.9% in Q1:23, it dropped closer to 50% again recently.
  • The decline in the EAF can be attributed partly to increased 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 increased again in the past two weeks and is now close to highs reached in Q1:23, compared to the unplanned outage factor of close to 35% in January. The planned outage factor (planned maintenance) is currently close to 17%, up from the lows of around 12% earlier this year.
  • SA has experienced a total of 2,928 hours (as at 7 May) of loadshedding thus far in 2023. This translates into 122 full days of loadshedding and is 840 hours (35 days) short of the loadshedding in 2022.
  • SA has experienced cumulative loadshedding, measured in GWh, of 7,280 GWh thus far in 2023. The SARB noted in its recent Monetary Policy Review that power cuts would likely add 0.5 percentage points to the inflation rate as businesses pass on the costs of back-up energy solutions to consumers. The SARB has lowered its GDP growth forecast to 0,2% this year as loadshedding continues to weigh heavily on the economic outlook.

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