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Ted Blom on Eskom outlook: 2021 will be worst year ever

Energy expert Ted Blom predicts that Eskom is heading for its worst performance ever in 2021.

Responding to Eskom’s updated 3-month electricity outlook, Blom says “historically Eskom has maintained a ‘planned maintenance’ outage of around 5,000MW. Unplanned outages, by definition, are a random number and to arrive at ‘Total Outages’ needs to be added to the planned outage number. The available power to the grid is thus the total installed capacity – Total Outages.”

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Blom explains: “historically when the total outages rise above 13,000MW, ‘the magic number’, the Eskom system experiences severe strain, which is then exacerbated by the demand season (Winter vs Summer), day in the week (Workday vs Weekend) and time of day (Off-peak vs Peak).

“Eskom’s own 3-month projection shows a consistent total outage until April 2021 hovering around 20,000MW – i.e. >7,000MW above the magic number. A shortfall of >7,000MW – 8,000MW = Level 8 loadshedding.”

“Based on the above Eskom scenarios,” says Ted Blom, “the likelihood of level 6 loadshedding appears more than 50%, and in worst-case scenarios, even level 8 loadshedding appears very likely to be achieved intermittently. Level 8 loadshedding was compiled by Eskom as an ‘academic exercise’ and entails up to 12 hours without electricity on scheduled days.”

Blom states: “If this is the outlook for 2021, it will be the WORST performance by Eskom ever and I expect the start of major disinvestment by energy-intensive consumers, and further loss of jobs/GDP.”

*Based on Eskom data

Ted Blom

Ted Blom is an energy analyst and a regular contributor to ESI Africa and speaker at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa (now Enlit Africa) tedblom@MiningandEnergy.net

Annemarie Roodbol
Annemarie Roodbol is a communications practitioner based in Cape Town.

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