Energy News

Winter Crisis Looms: South Africa Braces for Stage 9 Load Shedding

Published by
WIlliam Dube
  1. South Africa may experience stage 9 load shedding in June if it encounters cold snaps, as the country heads into the winter season.
  2. Eskom, the power utility, is already struggling to maintain a stable electricity supply, recently implementing stage 6 load shedding due to breakdowns and maintenance at power stations.
  3. Energy analyst Clyde Mallison’s data analysis suggests that a combination of cold snaps, average coal fleet performance, and diesel budget usage could lead to stage 9 load shedding during winter.

As South Africa heads into the winter season, energy analyst Clyde Mallison warns that the country may experience stage 9 load shedding in June if it encounters cold snaps. South Africans should brace themselves for higher stages of load shedding in the coming months, as power utility Eskom already faces challenges in maintaining a stable electricity supply.

On Wednesday night (12 April), Eskom announced the implementation of all-day stage 6 load shedding until further notice, following additional breakdowns at its power stations. The Medupi power station lost a unit in the evening, exacerbating the issues caused by breakdowns at other stations during the day, delays in returning units to service, and units being taken offline for scheduled maintenance.

With only 24,700MW of generating capacity available against a demand of 31,400MW, Eskom had no choice but to resort to stage 6 load shedding. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa revealed last week that South Africa’s supply and demand profile typically ranges from 27,000MW to 32,000MW during summer months. This figure is expected to jump to between 27,000MW and 37,000MW in winter.

Eskom’s recent breakdowns have resulted in over 17,500MW being taken offline overnight, surpassing its planned risk level of 17,200MW offline. This situation signals a concerning outlook for the upcoming months. The power utility’s latest Generation Adequacy Report paints a bleak picture for the winter season, with its likely risk scenario indicating more than two stages of load shedding throughout.

Minister Ramokgopa has cautioned that the country is in for an extremely challenging time.

Clyde Mallison, Director at Virtual Energy and Power, analyzed data that suggests South Africa’s winter load shedding could reach stage 9 in the event of a cold snap. Mallison acknowledges that Eskom’s demand forecasts are generally accurate but notes that they are based on full-year predictions and can be caught off-guard by unexpected cold snaps in winter.

By plotting data derived from these forecasts and considering scenarios where Eskom leverages ‘unrestrained’ diesel spending to supplement power supply, Mallison provided an insight into what South Africa could expect in June 2023. He explained, “If we have a cold snap in June, that corresponds with the average coal fleet performance assumption, and we use our diesel budget at this time, we could see up to stage 9 (load shedding).”

This potential escalation in load shedding highlights the importance of addressing South Africa’s energy challenges and seeking alternative solutions to ensure a stable electricity supply in the face of increasing demand and unpredictable weather conditions.

WIlliam Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on william@rateweb.co.za

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Published by
WIlliam Dube

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