Eskom exports enough power to prevent two stages of load-shedding

Eskom exports at least 1,706 megawatts (MW) to South Africa’s neighbours — enough power to mitigate a minimum of one stage of load-shedding and up to two stages, depending on the shortfall in its generation capacity.

The power utility provided details of its foreign clients in response to a Parliamentary question asked by Bhekizizwe Luthuli from the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Luthuli asked the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, whether Eskom continues to supply foreign countries while South Africa is experiencing load-shedding and how much revenue is generated from these contracts.

Eskom explained that it is expected to honour its contractual obligations and that it supplies foreign countries in terms of firm and non-firm power supply agreements:

  • Firm power supply agreements are subject to the load curtailment reduction in proportion to the load-shedding stages determined by NRS 048–9.
  • Non-firm power supply agreements are suspended in the event of increased demand in South Africa, including the use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (diesel) and load-shedding.

The NRS 048–9 document Eskom referred to states that cross-border load to other utilities supplied by South African generators must be treated the same as South African customers in the event of national or regional load reduction.

“Cross-border load reduction requirements should be (at least) the same percentage as the load reduction required in South Africa — i.e. the sales from South Africa to these countries shall be reduced by the same amount under the reduction instructed,” the document states.

In response to Luthuli’s question about Eskom’s revenue from international sales, the power utility said the information is published in its annual financial statements.

While Eskom’s 2020/21 financial results are not yet published, its 2019/20 results showed that it earned R12.2 billion from international sales.

Eskom said it saw a surge in international sales and revenue during 2020 due to demand driven by droughts in neighbouring countries.

Compared to 2019, Eskom saw a 48% increase in international sales. When compared to 2018, the revenue increase is 28%.

Eskom provided the following table summarising its international clients.

Country Customer Customer type Capacity
1. Botswana Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Utility 150MW + non-firm
2. Zambia Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC) Transmission Company 50MW + non-firm
3. Mozambique Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) Utility Standby of up to 300MW
4. Mozambique Mozambique Transmission Company (Motraco) Transmission Company selling to South32 (end-user) 950MW
5. Lesotho Lesotho Electricity Company (Pty) Ltd (LEC) Utility 80-110MW
6. Namibia Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) Utility 200MW + non-firm
7. Namibia NamPower for Skorpion Zinc Mine Utility Expired
8. Namibia NamPower for Orange River Cross Border Supply Utility 36MW
9. Eswatini Eswatini Electricity Corporation (EEC) Utility 190MW
10. Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company Private Limited (ZETDC) Utility 50MW + non-firm
Power exported, excluding non-firm and standby agreements 1,706MW

Now read: Eskom electricity prices have skyrocketed — and it’s going to get worse

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Eskom exports enough power to prevent two stages of load-shedding