Eskom insists downward EAF slide has been ‘arrested’ amid Stage 4 loadshedding

Eskom insists downward EAF slide has been ‘arrested’ amid Stage 4 loadshedding

Photo by Creamer Media

22nd February 2024

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Eskom insists the performance of its unreliable generation fleet is on an improving trajectory, releasing a graphic-heavy statement on February 22 disputing a recent report stating that its performance continued “going backwards”.

The statement, which was published only hours after loadshedding was ramped up to Stage 4, also asserts the decline in the generation fleet’s energy availability factor (EAF), which has fallen consistently for the past six years, has been arrested.

Eskom said the EAF of January this year represented an improvement on the same month in 2023, and a break from the average 3.8% linear decline in the EAF that had been recorded since 2018.

“[The] year-to-date EAF shows a positive trend, moving from 50% to 55%, an increase of 5%,” Eskom asserts, attributing the “marginal” improvement to its Generation Operational Recovery Plan.

While acknowledging that its EAF was not at targeted levels, Eskom made no specific comment on whether it was still feasible for it to meet its 65% EAF target by the end of March. While this goal was initially presented as an average for the 2023/24 financial year, which is well out of reach, Eskom has since asserted that it is the EAF level being targeted for the end of the current financial year.

EE Business Intelligence MD Chris Yelland, who tracks the EAF performance, noted on social media that, with Stage 4 loadshedding under way, the latest EAF for Week 7 of 2024, was 52.79%, while the year-to-date EAF remained slightly lower than for the same period last year.

"This despite the return to service of 3 x 800 MW generator units (Units 1, 2 and 3) at Eskom's Kusile power station in November 2023, and the synchronisation of Kusile Unit 4 to the grid in December 2023," Yelland added.

Meanwhile, Eskom also used the statement to highlight that unplanned outages have reduced from 34% of the generation capacity in January 2023 to 30% in January 2024.

The utility’s statement also includes a loadshedding comparison for two periods ­– 1 December 2022 to 16 February 2023 and 1 December 2023 to 16 February 2024 – which points to a period-on-period reduction of loadshedding-hours from 1 801.25 hours to 1 217.98 hours, or some 600 hours.

“Therefore, the notion that Eskom’ is experiencing a further decline in performance is not true,” the statement reads.

For the most recent period included in the comparison, Eskom says there were 57 days of loadshedding of which 14 days were at Stages 4 or higher, while it notes that there were 78 days in the prior comparable period, of which 66 were at Stages 4 or higher.

The implementation of Stage 6 between February 9 and 11 this year was described as an “outlier” and the result of the multiple generation units being taken offline.

Eskom attributed the improvement of the EAF and unplanned outages to concerted efforts under way at Kusile, Kendal, Majuba, Matla, Tutuka and Duvha, through which a “total of 3 510 MW was recovered by January 2024”.

It adds that the daily average of 8 000 MW of planned maintenance being performed during the current low-demand summer months represented the highest level of planned maintenance since November and December 2020.



Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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