South Africa’s electricity production falls 1.1% y/y in April 2014

By bne IntelliNews June 5, 2014

South Africa’s electricity production dropped 1.1% y/y to 18,767GWh in April, after a 1.2% y/y decline the month before, Statistics South Africa said. For the three months to end-April, electricity available for distribution in the country fell 1.0% y/y. At the same time, the actual volume of electricity consumption in the country remained unchanged y/y in April.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, April’s electricity production rose 0.7% m/m, following a 0.1% m/m decline the month before, while consumption increased 0.5% m/m, reversing a 0.5% m/m decline in March. For the three months to end-April, electricity production was 0.3% higher, compared with the previous three months, while consumption was 0.9% lower.

The country’s dominant power producer Eskom has been troubled by problematic plant performance and unplanned outages this year. The state-owned utility’s acting CEO Collin Matjila said on Thursday (June 5) that its supply capacity is currently on the edge and controlled load shedding may be needed if demand rises during the winter, fin24 reported. According to Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi, the power system is severely constrained and will remain vulnerable despite the fact that the platinum strike has reduced demand by some 400MW. He predicted the load to be just below 36GB during the winter.

In April, Eskom produced a total of 19,633GWh of electricity, down 1.9% y/y, and equal to 95% of the total electricity generation in the country, according to Statistics South Africa. It imported 619GWh and exported 987GWh of electricity, mainly to neighbouring countries.

Eskom expects to launch the first unit of its delayed Medupi coal-fired power plant in the first quarter of 2015, helping alleviate electricity supply pressures on Africa’s most advanced economy.

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