You can now view Eskom’s power data online

Eskom has launched a new portal where South Africans can view the system status and other related data.

This follows requests from OUTA to Eskom to make its power system performance information publicly available in a user-friendly form.

OUTA said it has spent months trying to get this information. “Eskom initially delayed responding, then refused our request,” it said.

On 3 April, OUTA filed an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) with Eskom.

They asked for a list of specified power system performance information to be made available to the public.

The information requested included hourly details on energy produced by each power station, details of availability, planned maintenance, unplanned breakdowns, and emissions.

“Five months after we asked for a list of power system performance information on the state of the Eskom to be made public, it has finally made a limited amount available to the public,” OUTA said.

“Although this is a good start, the information now provided is still far from what is provided by Eskom’s peers around the world,” said Chris Yelland, OUTA’s energy advisor.

Yelland said the power system performance information is important for the electricity customers, business, mining, industry, and the general public to know.

“In addition, the public cannot simply be expected to watch idly as billions of rand in taxpayer money go to bailing out Eskom over the next decade,” he said.

Eskom data provided

Yelland provided a preliminary assessment of the Eskom data in comparison with what OUTA asked for:

  1. OUTA asked for an hourly data feed so it could produce its own dashboards on what customers want and need to know. Eskom has presented its own dashboard based on what Eskom wants the public to see.
  2. OUTA asked for granularity at the power system level, technology level and power station level, and in due course at the generator unit level at each power station. The information is provided only at the system level, with limited technology granularity and no power station granularity.
  3. No zoom, pan, trend analysis or data download facilities are provided.
  4. No energy availability factor (EAF) information is provided at system, technology, power station or generator unit level (although EAF at system level can be derived after some calculations).
  5. No primary energy use, water use, primary energy stockpile level, diesel tank level, or water level information is provided.
  6. No real-time environmental information on sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or particulate matter emissions is provided – only historical monthly reports.
  7. Several parameters have limited time resolution (for example, daily, not hourly as requested).
  8. There are no correlation analysis facilities, for example, allowing one dataset to be placed alongside another dataset with the same timeframe for trend and correlation analysis and comparisons.
  9. The way data is presented is rudimentary, and not in line with current IT best practice seen in good, commercially available dashboard software systems. Eskom could have leapfrogged to a really great information system dashboard based on what is standard practice today.

“It is OUTA’s view that Eskom should focus on providing a comprehensive, automated, hourly, raw data feed,” Yelland said.

“The benefits of increased transparency, benchmarking, public and peer pressure would be an enormous driver for positive performance improvement and attitude change within Eskom.”

The charts below provide an overview of some of the data which Eskom is currently providing.

Lockdown Demand Tracking

The chart indicates how the actual demand during lockdown compares to what the expected demand was before the lockdown was announced.

It can be seen that there was a significant reduction in demand, which gradually reduced as we moved to lower levels.

Weekly peak demand

Weekly peak demand is shown for the current and previous financial year. Peak demand is calculated as the maximum of the hourly average values for each week.

Station build-up for the last 7 days

This shows how resources were used to build-up the demand over the past 7 days, and it includes both generation and demand-side resources that Eskom has contracts with.

Financial year load factor (IPP OCGT)

The ratio of the energy generated over a specific time versus the maximum generating capability over the same period is shown for IPP OCGTs.

Hourly renewable generation

Hourly renewable generation per resource type for the current and previous month. This only reflects renewables owned by Eskom or that Eskom has contracts with. Embedded generation is not included.

Weekly unplanned outages

This is a trend of the weekly unplanned outages (including other outages) for the current financial year (full weeks are used). It indicates the average trend, as well as showing the spread of these types of outages.

Now read: Eskom accused of lying about load-shedding

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You can now view Eskom’s power data online