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10 hour load shedding per day looming for South Africa

As Eskom flounders with no real plan in place to prevent loss of capacity, the reality of Stage 6 loadshedding increases – which means 10-hour daily blackouts.

During December 2019, Eskom implemented stage 6 load-shedding for the first time – this allowed Eskom to shed approximately 6,000MW.

“Government and Nersa should immediately bring an end to the antiquated “single-buyer model” for electricity, where Eskom is designated as the sole buyer of electricity intended for resale in South Africa,”says energy expert Chris Yelland.

Frustrated industry insiders also wanted to why the government has not lifted limitations on independent power producers. This could unlock around 2,500MW of power for South Africa almost immediately.

The City of Cape Town is seeking court permission to buy electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs) due to the ongoing blackouts in the country.

Furthermore, Eskom’s declining energy availability factor (EAF) is a cause for serious concern.

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The energy availability factor shows the percentage of Eskom’s generation capacity which is available, taking into account planned maintenance and unplanned breakdowns.

Yelland said the EAF data for 2019 paints a grim picture of ageing, under-maintained, and stressed power plants.

“The EAF for the full 2019 calendar year has hit a new record low of 67%, compared to the EAF of 72% for the 2018 calendar year,” said Yelland.

He added that the EAF for Week 50 and Week 51 of 2019 also hit record all-time lows of 59.7% and 58.0% respectively.

Citing an ageing fleet that requires higher levels of maintenance, Eskom has warned that the power system remains vulnerable and volatile, adding that getting back to stability will take some time.

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