Eskom announces permanent load-shedding

Eskom will implement permanent load-shedding in South Africa for the next two years, the state-owned power utility’s chairman Mpho Makwana has said.

In a media call on Sunday, Makwana warned that South Africans should expect continuous stage 2 to stage 3 power cuts for the next 24 months.

“We want to create some predictability,” Makwana said. “Shuttling from one stage to the other is never good.”

However, outgoing Eskom CEO André de Ruyter later clarified that continuously implementing a specific stage of load-shedding would not be possible.

Higher stages might sometimes be necessary, and if Eskom’s generating unit breakdown situation improves, lower stages could be possible.

The state-owned power utility’s power station general manager, Thomas Conradie, also later said they hope to decrease day-time load-shedding to stage 1 in the coming week.

Makwana said permanent load-shedding would form part of Eskom’s plan to increase its Energy Availability Factor (EAF) to a point where it could stop load-shedding within the next 24 months.

“The global average for EAF is about 86%. We’re looking to grow from our current 58% EAF to 70% in the next two years,” said Makwana.

The planned journey to 70% is hoped to take place on the following timeline:

  • 60% EAF — end-March 2023
  • 65% EAF — end-March 2024
  • 70% EAF — end-March 2025

Stage 8 possibility ‘receding’

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter added that while there has been much speculation about stage 8 load-shedding, this is no longer a likely scenario.

“The possibility of stage 8 load-shedding is receding, which is comforting and positive,” said de Ruyter.

“However, there is always an inherent risk, and for that purpose, we have to protect our diesel reserves.”

Now read: Goodbye Eskom — Power cuts forcing South Africans to build private solar

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Eskom announces permanent load-shedding