Eskom ‘clarifies’ low energy availability numbers

 ·22 Feb 2024

Power utility Eskom claims that, contrary to reports, its energy generation has “taken a positive turn” and that the group’s energy availability factor (EAF) trends are improving, albeit marginally.

Responding to an article on BusinessTech – which pointed out that the group’s EAF had dropped to its lowest point on record for February and was worse than in 2023 – the group said that positing that it is “moving backwards” is incorrect.

Ignoring the figures for February, the group said that year-on-year from January 2023 to January 2024, “the year-to-date EAF shows a positive trend, moving from 50% to 55%, an increase of 5 (percentage points)”.

Eskom’s energy availability factor has been historically on a linear decline of an average 3.8% since 2018 until January 2023 – which it says it has now stabilised.

“This improvement, although marginal, is a result of the implementation of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which was approved by the current Board,” it said.

The group did not address the record low for February from the initial report in its statement, nor the fact it had missed the 60% EAF target set by the board for 2023, and is likely to miss the 65% target for 2024.

EAF year-to-date in February has declined to an average 51.6% so far, according to Eskom’s own data.

According to Eskom’s latest system status report for the year to date shows that EAF continues to track lower than in 2023 at 51.6%.

Comparing year-to-date EAF versus the average in 2023 shows that EAF is underperforming by 3.14 percentage points. Even comparing to the same period in 2023 shows that, year to date, EAF is underperforming by 0.56 percentage points. At best, a flat result.

EAF in week 7 (ending 18 February 2024) averaged 52.8% – this is a slight improvement from the 50.8% recorded the week prior, and a fractionally better performance than the same week in 2023 (52.7%).

Eskom has still not hit the 60% EAF target set for March 2023, only hitting it once in October 2023.

However, Eskom said that the fact it had reduced the number of days and hours of load shedding in 2024 versus 2023 and that load shedding stages were far lower were more signs that things had improved and not moved backwards.

“Stage 6 from 9 February 2024 midnight until 11 February 2024 midday was an outlier as a result of the multiple generation units taken offline,” it said.

“It should also be noted that while the EAF may not be where we want it to be, Eskom arrested the declining trend of EAF which has been ongoing for the past six years.

“The reduction in the intensity and frequency of load shedding, as well as the positive EAF trajectory, are the real signs that there is some improvement in the performance of the generation fleet.

“The focus remains on sustaining this trajectory. Therefore, Eskom dispels the misrepresentation that there is a further decline in its generation performance.”

Eskom is currently implementing stage 4 load shedding until further notice.

Read: How Eskom plans to get customers back

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