Maynard – Falling Eskom electricity production offset by independents growing

The art of deception, the outcome is warranted but it’s the underlying reasons as to why, which should shirk interest. President Jacob Zuma went on record to say South Africa will not see loadshedding again. A brace statement considering the country is readying itself for an icy winter. But where does the confidence in the statement come from? Dwaine van Vuuren looked at the electricity demand, which showed a slump, back to levels in 2008. And adding fuel to this fire, statistical economist John Maynard, goes deeper. His analysis below shows Eskom’s electricity production has been declining since 2007. And further to this, the shortfall is being picked up by other power producers. – Stuart Lowman

By John Maynard*

A short while ago South Africa’s president stated that South Africa will not see loadshedding again. Question is whether this is due to Eskom producing more, consumers and businesses saving more electricity by becoming more electricity efficient, or is it due to lagging demand for electricity?

The line graph above shows total electricity produced by Eskom and other power producers since January 2000. Eskom produced it’s most kilowatt hours in July 2007 (22 738), while other power producers only produced 1 063 kilowatt hours that same month (or roughly about 4.7% of what Eskom was producing at the time).

Since July 2007, power produced by Eskom has declined substantially. With power produced by Eskom sitting at 19 287 kilowatt hours for March 2016 (thats down 15.2% from the highs reached in July 2007), while other power producers are currently producing 1 379 kilowatt hours for March 2016 (or about 7.2% of what Eskom is producing). This reflects an increase of 29.7% in the amount of kilowatt hours produced by other power producers since July 2007 while Eskom ‘s power produced has dropped by 15.2%.

While demand for electricity has dropped off since the recession caused by the sub prime crisis in the US, with smelters at mines not running at full tilt, and businesses and households becoming more energy efficient, other power producers have started to fill the void left by Eskom’s inefficiencies. While the president might have proclaimed there will be no further loadshedding, the cause of this is obviously not because of a more efficient and bigger power producing Eskom, but rather more energy efficient businesses and households and other energy producers that is filling the gap that Eskom seemingly can’t.

  • John Maynard is the nom de plume of an independent economist who is obsessed with official statistics – and uses these facts to blast through misleading narrative and propaganda. For more of his unique insights click here.