Load Shedding Remains Suspended Amid Improved Generation Reliability

Eskom’s Milestone Achievement

On Friday, May 17, 2024, Eskom announced that load shedding remains suspended for 51 consecutive days, a notable achievement reflecting the steady improvement in the reliability of its generation fleet. This period of stability is the longest since the stretch from December 5, 2021, to February 2, 2022.

Generation Operational Recovery Plan

The significant progress can be attributed to the Generation Operational Recovery Plan initiated in March 2023. This plan focuses on:

  • Accelerated Maintenance: Speeding up and executing planned maintenance.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Implementing online preventative measures.
  • Major Refurbishments: Undertaking major plant refurbishments and life extension projects.
  • Reduced UCLF: Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF) has decreased notably.

Key Improvements Noted

Reduction in Unplanned Outages

  • Current UCLF: 28.4% from April 1, 2024, to May 16, 2024.
  • Previous UCLF: 35.4% from April 1, 2023, to May 16, 2023.
  • Impact: Demonstrates the increasing reliability of the generation fleet.

Steady EAF Improvement

  • Year-to-Date EAF: 60.56%, an 8.9% improvement from last year’s 51.8%.
  • Recent Records: EAF reached 70% on May 12, 2024, and has been maintained between 67% and 70%.

Planned Maintenance

  • Current Maintenance: 4,334MW aligns with the maintenance plan for winter.

Decreased OCGT Usage

  • Lower Usage: OCGT usage significantly lower compared to the past two years.
  • OCGT Load Factor: 4.76% from May 1 to May 16, 2024, down from 22.07% last year.
  • Cost Reduction: R1.25 billion spent from April 1, 2024, to May 16, 2024, compared to R5.2 billion last year.
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Winter 2024 Outlook

  • Winter Forecast: Eskom’s generation performance exceeds the winter forecast, which predicted unplanned outages between 14,000MW and 15,500MW with load shedding limited to Stage 2.

Teams Driving Recovery

Eskom’s skilled teams, including Power Station General Managers, are diligently working to restore additional generating capacity by bringing units back from unplanned outages and planned maintenance. A total of 3,900MW of generating capacity is planned to return to service by Monday, May 20, 2024.

Current Demand

  • Evening Peak Demand: 27,436MW for Friday, May 17, 2024.

Energy-Saving Month

May is designated as energy-saving month, and Eskom expresses gratitude to those who are using electricity sparingly and efficiently. Simple actions like switching off geysers and pool pumps from 17:00 to 21:00 help lower demand and alleviate pressure on the power system.

Future Updates

Eskom will provide another update next Friday or communicate any significant changes promptly.

By adhering to these strategies and maintaining rigorous maintenance protocols, Eskom continues to strive towards a stable and reliable power supply for South Africa.

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