Energy expert Chris Yelland has warned that South Africa’s peak electricity demand graph paints a worrying picture for the country.
Speaking at the 2015 MyBroadband Cloud and Hosting Conference, Yelland said the week-by-week electricity demand graph shows a big year-on-year decline.
In fact, South Africa’s peak electricity demand has steadily declined for the past five years. The 2015 peak demand to date is 31,419MW – far lower than the 2011 peak demand of 36,212MW.
The reason for the peak electricity demand decline is simple: Eskom cannot supply enough power.
This, said Yelland, is a sign of what is happening to the economy. “The economy is being constrained.”
“Electricity consumption is a sign of manufacturing output, and this is what is declining.”
Eskom transparency declining
Yelland said Eskom’s poor communication with the public and customers and the reduction in operational transparency is worrying.
“For the past five years Eskom provided the media with power system updates twice a week,” said Yelland.
These updates included available electricity supply, electricity demand, the level of planned outages, and the level of unplanned breakdowns for every day of the week.
These system status bulletins have now stopped. Eskom sent the following message to stakeholders:
System status bulletins
Please note that the bi-weekly system status bulletin has been discontinued. Status bulletin no. 346 issued on 21 May 2015 was the last one. In order to ensure that we keep the media and our stakeholders informed of the status of the power system, we have been issuing general power alerts on a regular basis.
Yelland said this is an example of the growing lack of transparency from Eskom, and a sign of a company which is getting into a defensive mode.