South Africa just had its worst year of load-shedding — Eskom warns to expect even worse in 2024

Eskom’s system status outlook for 2024 shows that there will be a significant electricity shortfall for every week of the year and people should expect extensive load-shedding.

The report’s 52-week outlook forecasts that electricity demand will be much higher than available generating capacity every week of the year ahead.

Eskom uses colour codes ranging from green (no shortage) to red (worst case), indicating the absence or presence of a capacity constraint, as shown below:

  • Green — Adequate generation to meet demand and reserves.
  • Yellow — Smaller than 1,000 MW, possibly short to meet reserves.
  • Orange — 1,001 MW to 2,000 MW, definitely short to meet reserves and possibly demand.
  • Red — Over 2,001 MW short to meet demand and reserves.

The outlook between 1 January 2024 and 30 December 2024 shows that the likely risk scenario is red for all 52 weeks. This points to a shortfall of over 2,001 MW every week.

Simply put, Eskom expects severe electricity generation shortages for the whole of 2024. This means South Africans should expect severe load-shedding in 2024 — at least stage 2, at regular intervals.

What is particularly telling is that the same report for 2023 showed that Eskom’s planned risk levels were red for only two weeks.

However, Eskom’s unplanned outage assumptions, breakdown risk scenarios, and planned maintenance forecasts are substantially higher than last year.

For its 2024 outlook, Eskom is working with an unplanned outage assumption of 16,000MW. Last year it started off with a 13,000MW assumption.

Eskom’s two risk scenarios have also been updated. The first — “Planned Risk Level” — went from -15,200MW to -18,200MW. The second — “Likely Risk Scenario” — worsened from -16,700MW to -20,200MW.

2023 was the worst year for load-shedding the country has ever experienced, with regular stage 6 power cuts throughout the year.

The outlook for 2024 is much worse, which illustrates why South Africans should not believe political rhetoric about fixing the energy crisis and the end of load-shedding.

Energy minister Gwede Mantashe also recently released a proposed updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for public comment, which shows South Africa can expect extensive load-shedding until at least 2027.

The draft IRP outlines several different strategies for building new power generation capacity.

It shows that the plans underway to end load-shedding will only bear fruit in another four years as more gas, solar, wind, and battery storage capacity comes online.

Crucial milestones include a 1,000MW independent gas power plant and 2,000MW battery storage system set to come online in 2027, and another 4,000MW of gas power (1,000MW independent and 3,000MW from Eskom) set to launch in 2028.

The following chart shows Eskom’s system outlook between January 2024 and December 2024.

The second chart provides a comparison of the same report a year earlier. It shows the system outlook between January 2023 and December 2023.


Eskom 52-week outlook from January 2024 to December 2024


Eskom 52-week outlook from January 2023 to December 2023


Reporting with Daily Investor.

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South Africa just had its worst year of load-shedding — Eskom warns to expect even worse in 2024