Load Shedding Takes a Leap
South Africa’s leading power utility, Eskom, dropped a bombshell on us: daytime load shedding is cranking up to stage 4. Why, you ask? Three units conked out overnight. That’s on top of the urgent need to boost their emergency generation.
When to Expect Lights Out:
- Thursday, 31 August: All day – Stage 4
- Friday, 1 September: To be announced (Stay tuned!)
This escalation feels like déjà vu. Remember this past Tuesday, 29th August? Eskom had to rework its schedule on the fly. It’s been a while since that happened.
Looking for Stability
Eskom’s acting CEO, Calib Cassim, had a chat with the media on 24th August. His message? The utility’s main goal is stability, making it easier for businesses and South Africans to prep for outages. Eskom’s been on an upswing, even hitting pause on outages when the demand slumped.
But this current roller-coaster? It’s a glaring sign. The power grid’s stability is wobbly at best, and Eskom? Balancing precariously. Cassim was quizzed on when this game of load shedding roulette would end. His response? “The situation should improve in 2024.” We can expect some relief by late 2023, with Kusile’s three units making a comeback, and demand-side strategies bearing fruit. 2024 is when the real magic happens with several new projects kicking off.
But for now, South Africans: Stay alert! The load shedding saga rolls on, unpredictable as ever.
Eskom’s Targets and Tribulations
- Energy Availability Factor (EAF): Eskom’s setting its sights on 65% by March 2024. But first, they’re scrambling to hit a 60% target for March 2023.
- Financial Woes: The first quarter of this financial year saw Eskom in the red by a whopping R5 billion.
Their silver lining? Some profitability metrics did better than forecasted. However, their journey to long-term financial steadiness is strewn with roadblocks. What’s holding them back? The company candidly admits: “Eskom’s profitability remains hampered by poor long-term financial sustainability arising from an inadequate tariff path, poor generating plant performance, and escalating arrear municipal debt.”