Eskom's generation steadily improving - Ramokgopa

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Improved performance of Eskom’s generating fleet is beginning to turn the tide against load shedding.

This is according to Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who delivered a statement on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The EAP was introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July last year to address the intensification of load shedding.

“Generation performance continues to improve from the May 2023 days of 27410MW [generation] to 28 883MW in October month to date. Last week, we saw generation breach the psychological mark of 30 000MW largely buoyed by the return to service of Kusile units 3 and 1 over the past month.

“This improved generation and lower than projected demand has allowed for exceptional increase in planned outage or good maintenance. The increased planned outage means that we are improving the overall performance capacity of the fleet, improving reliability and efficiency and steadily ensuring that we navigate to an equilibrium between demand and supply buffered by healthy reserve margin,” he said.

The Minister added that since May this year, unplanned outages where generating units break down have been fewer.

“This is a function of the increased planned maintenance and improved reliability of Units.  

“Following a period of increased planned maintenance between mid-August 2023 and mid-October 2023, UCLF has dropped to 13527 MW from the May 2023 baseline of 17369 MW. This represents an improvement in the available capacity of 3841 MW, amounting to over three stages of load shedding,” he said.

Kusile Power Station

Ramokgopa told the National Assembly that the improvement at Kusile power station bears testament to the belief that the power station can drive forward Eskom’s improvement in generation capacity.

In October last year, units at the power station went offline following a duct failure.

“We have always been firm that Kusile Power Station would anchor the drive for generation capacity to get ahead of the demand curve.

“The two units returned have injected an additional 1600 MW over the past month, whilst Units 2 and 5 will add another 1600 MW. This means the 4 Kusile Units will provide a total of 3200 MW of base load by December 2023. The last remaining Kusile unit, Unit 6, is planned to be synchronised in August 2024.

“The early return of the two units is a result of judicious and smart engineering. We anticipate returning Unit 2 by the third week of November 2023. Additionally, Kusile Unit 4…was returned to service on 17 September 2023, three days ahead of the planned date.

“Kusile Unit 5 was originally planned for completion on 28 October 2023 but was rescheduled to later in order to prioritise the return of the three commercial Kusile units. Unit 5 is now scheduled to be synchronised by December 2023,” he said.

Forging ahead

The Minister acknowledged that load shedding continues to take a heavy toll on South Africans.

However, Ramokgopa expressed confidence that the task of lowering and eventually ending load shedding is well underway.

“The national energy crisis continues to be the single biggest existential challenge in post-apartheid South Africa, and we must continue to harness all efforts to arrest further haemorrhaging caused by load shedding to our economy and the degradation of the quality of lives of ordinary South Africans.

“In May 2023, I stood in this august House to deliver an executive statement outlining the transversal interventions we were making to reduce the intensity and frequency of load shedding and to articulate our plans in relation to the winter plan. Working with the dedicated staff at Eskom and industry experts, we have successfully navigated through the winter season and are beginning to turn the tide,” Ramokgopa said. –