Eskom anticipates a reduced intensity and frequency of loadshedding for the winter of 2024 compared to the previous one, limiting it to Stage 2

Friday, 26 April 2024: Eskom’s outlook for the winter period of 2024 represents a marked improvement from the previous year. The Generation Operational Recovery Plan, approved by the Board and initiated in March 2023, together with strategic investment in planned maintenance during the summer, has collectively enhanced the performance of our generation fleet.

This strategic approach, which focusses on people, plant performance, processes and governance, is being delivered by the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of our staff in partnership with the government’s NECOM structures, is a key factor in achieving the satisfactory progress to date, and the favourable outlook for the upcoming winter season as compared to the previous one.

Winter 2024

For winter 2024, Eskom anticipates limiting loadshedding to Stage 2, with reduced unplanned outages expected to range from 14 000MW to 15 500MW and a maximum of 17 000MW of unplanned outages at Stage 5 loadshedding. This forecast is a marked improvement from the winter 2023, which predicted unplanned outages ranging from 15 000MW to 16 500MW and a maximum of 18 000MW—a scenario where the maximum unplanned outages, or Stage 8, was successfully avoided.

During the winter season of 2023, loadshedding was implemented frequently. However, a promising trend emerged in the subsequent summer period, with most instances of unplanned outages contained between 14 000MW and 15 500MW, resulting in loadshedding stages 2 to 4. Loadshedding was suspended for 37 days. Eskom will continue to strive to maintain this positive trend for the winter of 2024, aiming to keep unplanned outages within the range of 14 000MW to 15 500MW, which will translate to a maximum of Stage 2 loadshedding. Currently, we have reached 30 consecutive days without loadshedding, a milestone last achieved on 10 April 2022, when we marked 28 consecutive days without loadshedding.

The Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which has incorporated various independent reviews of Generation operations, including those from the recently published VGBe report, and the investment in planned maintenance during the summer period, has collectively led to the following notable achievements which contribute to the optimistic outlook for this winter and our current performance:

• A 9% reduction in unplanned load losses from April 2023 to March 2024.
• A 19.2% reduction in unit trips between 2023 and 2024 financial years, indicating an increasingly more reliable generation fleet and availability of power supply.
• The restoration of three Kusile units that were offline since October 2022 and the synchronisation of Kusile Unit 5, collectively contributing an additional 3 200MW into the grid from September to December 2023.
• The successful completion of the Koeberg Unit 1 steam generator replacement as part of the Long-Term Operation project, which has restored 930MW of generation capacity.
• Progress on several projects aimed at minimising Partial Load Losses, including the cooling tower refurbishments at Kriel and Tutuka, and re-bagging at Majuba, with the completion of Tutuka units 1 & 2.

“In a strategic move to improve the reliability of our generation fleet for winter 2024, we consciously increased the planned maintenance during the summer months of 2023/24 to an average of 8 000MW. This decision was aimed at securing long-term operational benefits and ensuring the stability of the energy supply. The peak of planned maintenance was executed between December 2023 and January 2024, where we reached an average of 18% of the generation capacity. The last time we saw a similar surge in planned maintenance was around November and December 2020,” remarked Eskom Group Chief Executive, Dan Marokane.

“As we transition into the winter season, we are encouraged by the performance since mid-March and a structural shift that demonstrates an improvement towards the desired reliability of our fleet. With the base case reduction of 1 000MW in unplanned outages compared to the previous winter, we are resolute in our commitment to sustain this positive trajectory. We are targeting to keep unplanned outages within the range of 14 000MW to 15 500MW whilst we turn our attention to addressing the contributors of unreliability of our plants. Remaining within this range of unplanned outages will enable us to maintain loadshedding at lower stages throughout the winter. While we acknowledge the challenges ahead, we are redoubling our efforts.,” concluded Marokane.

Generation Peaking Stations usage.

Eskom will continue to strategically utilise its peaking stations, including the open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs). These turbines are typically dispatched to meet the high electricity demand during the morning and evening peaks.

As far as the OCGTs are concerned, the System Operator strives to operate them for the shortest possible durations, especially as our coal generation fleet becomes more reliable. Compared to April 2023, we have spent 50% less on diesel in April 2024.

Ending loadshedding will continue to require a collective effort. This winter, Eskom will once again count on the nation’s support to alleviate pressure on the power system by using electricity efficiently and participating in various energy-saving initiatives, including load limiting, the installation of microgrids, and battery energy storage systems. This includes participation in an energy savings campaign in the month of May 2024.

Eskom extends its gratitude to the government and other key stakeholders, including the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), for the notable improvements in the power system. Eskom also commends its employees for their diligent execution of the Generation Recovery Plans and their dedication to the turnaround of Eskom.


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