Eskom’s Load Shedding Escalation
Eskom, South Africa’s leading power utility, has announced that setbacks in reinstating generating units will result in an amplified load shedding regime on Wednesday (28 June). This is a consequence of an electricity generation shortfall the utility is grappling with.
The company’s revised load shedding plan will usher in stage 2 restrictions from 07h00 to 16h00. From 16h00 onwards until midnight, stage 3 load shedding will be in force.
Eskom promises to offer updates throughout the day.
Load Shedding Schedule
Wednesday, 28 June
- Suspended: until 07h00
- Stage 2: 07h00 to 16h00
- Stage 3: 16h00 to 00h00
Thursday, 29 June
Breaking the Trend
This abrupt change disrupts a three-week trend of daytime load shedding suspension, confining blackouts to evening hours only.
Although Eskom has been maintaining stage 1 load shedding during weekend daytime, it still managed to suspend power outages for certain periods.
Despite the welcomed reprieve by South Africans, businesses, and stakeholders, energy experts have consistently warned that Eskom’s grid remains unpredictable, with circumstances prone to sudden alterations.
Performance & Projections
Eskom has been successful in limiting load shedding to lower stages, thanks to improved generation performance, pushing the energy availability factor (EAF) up to 60%.
Factors such as reduced-than-projected demand and enhanced plant performance, facilitated by cooler weather, have provided additional support. Industrial users are also deterred by high winter tariffs from excessive use, and a seasonal dip in planned maintenance has been advantageous too.
Though Eskom’s position is precarious and load shedding could amplify at any minor disruption, prospects for later this year and into 2024 are more promising, with an anticipated influx of generating capacity.
The utility has received environmental clearances allowing it to reactivate several Kusile units, which will start resurfacing in November 2022, adding roughly 2,100MW back to the grid.
Simultaneously, new generating capacity is set to come online as various projects start to yield results.