Eskom clarifies diesel OCGT usage

Power utility refutes media reports about excessive use of diesel to avert loadshedding

Eskom clarifies diesel OCGT usage and refutes media reports about excessive use of diesel to avert loadshedding

10 May 2024

Eskom wishes to provide clarity on the usage of Open-Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs). There are some speculations that Eskom has extensively utilised the OCGTs to avert loadshedding, which has not been implemented for 44 consecutive days.

Here are the facts:

The continuous suspension of loadshedding is due to sufficient generation capacity, resulting from a more reliable generation fleet.

Unplanned outages have reduced by 4 400MW since 26 April 2024 due to extensive maintenance and the success of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan initiated in March 2023.

The Energy Availability Factor (EAF) has improved significantly, performing above 60% since 29 April 2024 and reaching 65% on 01 May 2024, with a month-to-date figure of 63.34%.

Eskom’s outlook for the winter period of 2024 states that it will continue to strategically utilise its peaking stations, including open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs). OCGTs are dispatched during morning and evening peaks to meet high electricity demand when it is necessary.

In April 2024, Eskom spent R1.1 billion on OCGTs, producing 167.8GWh. This is about 60% less than April 2023 when R3.1 billion was spent to produce 470.22GWh.

The OCGT load factor for April 2024 decreased significantly to 6.8% compared to last year’s figure of 19.13%.

Diesel spending on OCGTs shows a declining trend, with R53.9 million spent in the first nine days of May 2024.

Eskom’s budget for diesel in the current financial year (April to June 2024) is R5.8 billion, and R1.16 billion has been spent as of 09 May 2024 (19.7% of the total budget).

Contrary to media reports and speculations, Eskom’s utilisation of OCGTs is closely monitored, and their role is strategic rather than extensive.

Determining Eskom’s diesel budget

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) makes a revenue decision related to OCGT volumes for Eskom and IPPs based on assumptions for the years ahead. It is to be noted that the Eskom Board determines the budget, which resulted in a reduction from 18% load factor of the FY24 to a 12% load factor for FY25, whilst NERSA’s allowance is at 6% load factor. Eskom’s performance in April 2024 aligns closely with NERSA’s 6% load factor.

The Multi Year Price Determination (MYPD) methodology requires Eskom to utilise OCGTs to minimise loadshedding.

The current usage of Eskom’s OCGTs is no cause for alarm.

Issued by Eskom Media Desk, 10 May 2024