Home South African Eskom commits to ramping EAF up to 65% after missing 2024 target

Eskom commits to ramping EAF up to 65% after missing 2024 target

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Eskom aims to ramp up the energy availability factor (EAF) to 65% by the end of the 2024/25 financial year as generation capacity improves, after missing the same target at the end of March this year.

Eskom board chairperson Mteto Nyati said that electricity consumers would start to see the difference. Picture: Supplied

ESKOM has vowed to ramp up the energy availability factor (EAF) to 65% by the end of the 2024/25 financial year as generation capacity improves, after missing the same target at the end of March this year.

The struggling power utility presented its State of the System update and its winter outlook on Friday with a base scenario that load shedding would be limited to Stage 2, but might go up to stage 5 in the worst-case scenario.

Eskom chairperson Mteto Nyati outlined the process that the Eskom board had embarked upon, including consultations with various stakeholders within the government and business sector since it approved the Generation Operational Recovery Plan in March 2023.

The objective of the plan was to arrest the decline of the EAF and was aimed at achieving an average of 65% in March 2024 and an average of 70% in March 2025.

Nyati said that although the implementation of the plan was that it would take two years to address the challenges of generation capacity, electricity consumers would not have to wait until then as they would start to see the difference.

“So we are now one year into that plan. As we had indicated at the time, that by the beginning of April in 2024, what the people of South Africa are going to be experiencing, they are going to be experiencing an EAF of around 65% energy availability factor. We did not meet that,” Nyati said.

“We are currently sitting with an EAF right now of 61%, which is slightly less than what we had targeted. And, of course, you can see at that level, this is where we are now. What we are seeing is in line, very much in line with what we thought we would be experiencing at this time.

“One of the key aspects of that plan was to make sure that, first, we take care of the key power stations that are doing well, make sure that we maintain those power stations and they don’t deteriorate.

“The second aspect of the plan was to look at the power stations that were contributing 80% of the problems and focus on those power stations by making sure that we do proper maintenance on them, so that we can get them to a level where they are reliable.”

Eskom head of generation Bheki Nxumalo said the EAF was a function of the unavailability plus the planned capability loss factor, which had intentionally pitched in December so that Eskom prepares itself for this period.

Nxumalo also reiterated the issue of safeguarding the power stations that are doing well on the fleet, saying they would focus on these stations because they were creating a lot of issues for Eskom.

He said the Kusile and Hendrina coal-fired power stations and Koeberg nuclear power station were among the problematic stations that had turned the corner on generation, mainly due to the execution of the plan by station managers.

“You would know that this time last year Kusile was almost at 16% of the availability because we had one unit. Kusile has really turned it around and currently Kusile has been topping Medupi for this period,” Nxumalo said.

“Last year June was also this issue about Koeberg Unit 1 which we were doing a major upgrade for the first time, replacing steam generators. For the first time in history we went through winter without Koeberg. So this year we are going to winter without another unit, but that Unit 1, the way it came back, since it came on load now is delivering 100%.

“What I have not touched on as yet is that I have indicated the exceptional performance for Medupi. Medupi and Kusile are the anchor stations for us in generation that continue sustaining this type of performance.

“We also looked at the stations that were due to close. The likes of Hendrina, Grootvlei, Kendal and Komati. It’s not going to be good that we shut these stations down when we are in this situation. So I must say that that decision is really starting to pay off.

“As we speak now, Hendrina is running five out of six units. Grootvlei is running exceptionally well as well, so is Kendal.”

– BUSINESS REPORT

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