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Eskom makes a costly mistake



Eskom makes a costly mistake

Eskom makes a costly mistake. Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned electricity supplier, drew attention on New Year’s Day when it unexpectedly implemented load shedding. This decision left energy experts puzzled, particularly regarding the extent of planned maintenance required. Check Also: ZA Student Portal

Anticipated Load Shedding Suspension Falls Short

Initially, there was an expectation that load shedding would remain suspended throughout the first week of the year. With many high-energy users still on holiday until January 8, Vally Padayachee of the National Rationalised Specifications Association of South Africa expressed this anticipation. However, this optimistic outlook did not materialize.

Eskom Maintenance Strategy Questioned

As reported by City Press, Eskom took more generation capacity out for planned maintenance than necessary. On January 1, the total generation capacity under maintenance was 8,451MW, increasing to 9,074MW by Wednesday. This move raised concerns about the efficiency and planning of Eskom’s maintenance practices.

Unplanned Outages and Fleet Strain

Eskom faced further challenges on January 1, with unplanned outages surpassing 16,200MW, roughly a third of its entire generation fleet. The strain on Eskom’s generating fleet, compounded by the increased maintenance, has significant implications for consumers.

Efficiency of Repairs Questioned

In addition to the volume of maintenance, Eskom has raised concerns about the breakdown of units shortly after repairs. The system operator questions the efficiency of the repair work and whether improvements can be made.

Calls for Independent Expert Oversight

Vally Padayachee suggests that Eskom should adopt a model similar to the aviation industry, employing a team of independent experts to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of repairs.

Concerns Over Eskom 2024 Energy Landscape

Despite recent efforts to suspend load shedding, energy analyst Pieter Jordaan raises concerns about Eskom’s coal-fired baseload stagnating in 2024.

Baseload Stagnation and Load Shedding Concerns

While Eskom’s baseload improved from 17.5GW in Q1 2023 to 18.5GW by the end of the year, Jordaan emphasizes the need for it to reach 20.5GW to alleviate load shedding concerns.

Energy Availability Factor (EAF) Woes

Jordaan also expresses concerns about Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF), highlighting the necessity of reaching around 70% for load shedding to end. However, by the end of 2023, the EAF was only slightly above 50%.

Long|Term Challenges and Private Generation

Energy experts acknowledge the unlikely prospect of Eskom achieving a consistent EAF of 70% in the long term. As a remedy, they question whether this is essential, considering the increasing contribution of private generation that could potentially insulate millions from Eskom’s ongoing struggles.


Eskom’s misjudged maintenance decisions and ongoing energy challenges raise doubts about its ability to meet demand. Questions linger on the effectiveness of repairs, exacerbating concerns over persistent load shedding.


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