JOHANNESBURG , South Africa could face power cuts up to Stage 11 in the coming months, according to energy expert Clyde Mallinson. Mallinson, a director at Virtual Energy and Power and Clean Energy Projects, warned that Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power company, must improve its power station performance to prevent the power cuts. Mallinson created a load-shedding forecast matrix using Eskom’s coal-fleet energy availability factor and expected winter electricity demand. He predicted that if Eskom’s coal fleet maintains an energy availability factor of over 45% in June, South Africans can expect Stage 8 load-shedding. However, if the EAF drops to 40%, load-shedding will reach Stage 11. Eskom’s coal fleet’s EAF dropped to below 40% in January, February, and April, meaning it is a distinct possibility in winter.
Electricity Minister Kgosientso Ramokgopa also shared similar concerns and stated that Eskom faces a shortfall of 8,000MW to 10,000MW in winter, which equates to Stage 10 load-shedding. With a guaranteed supply of 27,000MW, South Africa faces a shortfall of between 8,000MW and 10,000MW during winter. It translates into Stage 8 to 10 load-shedding. To avoid this situation, the supply of electricity must be increased, electricity demand must be decreased, or both.
Vally Padayachee from the NRS Association of South Africa said that Eskom is reviewing the load-shedding framework to prepare for load-shedding to exceed Stage 8 in the future. He added that it is a proactive measure for Eskom and municipalities to be ready to respond should it be necessary. Padayachee warned that Eskom’s grid is at a critical stage and that no professional can guarantee that South Africa could not go beyond Stage 8 load-shedding.
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