Eskom Sees Notable Improvement In Power Generation

Johannesburg – Eskom on Thursday said there have been “notable gradual improvements” in the performance of its power generation fleet. 

“Over the past week, six coal-fired power stations achieved an energy availability factor (EAF) of 70%, a milestone last achieved on 8 May 2022,” Eskom said.

“Three of these power stations, Camden, Duvha, and Matla, have been on a sustained upward trend as a result of a reduction of plant breakdowns and the return to service of a number of units that were on unplanned breakdowns.”

The power utility said Lethabo, Matimba, and Medupi have been experiencing continued good performance and remain among Eskom’s three best-performing stations.

Eskom said Lethabo was able to sustain performance after a quick recovery following a wet coal incident experienced last week, due to flooding after the excessive rainfall.

“While this is still early progress, it shows a positive trajectory from actions taken to recover Eskom generation plants. This is consistent with Eskom’s target to achieve 70% EAF by the 2025 financial year,” said Eskom’s Acting Group Chief Executive, Calib Cassim.

Eskom Board Chairperson, Mpho Makwana, said: “The marked improvement in performance at Camden, Duvha, and Matla as well as the sustained commendable performance at Lethabo, Matimba, and Medupi gives assurance that if we continue to apply an all-hands-on-deck-approach we will continue to improve the energy availability”

“I specifically commend the various teams at these power stations for the great work and also applaud all the Eskom employees for their continued hard work and dedication,” added Makwana.

Eskom said it continues to pursue generation recovery programmes to recover operations and achieve sustained improvements in generation performance.

In another development on Thursday, Eskom said its placement “on CreditWatch Positive by S&P Global was a positive development which endorses the positive impact of the Debt Relief on Eskom’s financial position and overall liquidity”.

Following the announcement by the National Treasury of debt relief measures for Eskom in February, rating agency S&P Global has placed Eskom on CreditWatch Positive. 

This is an indication to the market that the agency could improve Eskom’s CCC+ credit rating by one or more notches, based on their expectation that Eskom’s liquidity position will be strengthened by debt relief.

“The announcement by S&P Global is extremely positive in that it endorses the positive impact of the Debt Relief on Eskom’s financial position and overall liquidity,” remarked Eskom’s Acting Group Chief Executive, Calib Cassim.

“It will also serve to allay fears lenders and creditors of Eskom might have with respect to Eskom’s financial stability.”

The potential rating upgrade is expected to take place once the Debt Relief Bill has been approved and signed by Parliament and also once the final terms and conditions of the debt relief have been provided by National Treasury.

In the 2023 Budget Review, National Treasury announced debt relief of R254 billion for Eskom. 

This comprises advances to deal with Eskom’s debt service requirements over the next three financial years. 

The National Treasury also committed to taking over up to R70 billion in Eskom debt in the 2026 financial year.

The Debt Relief will reduce Eskom’s debt by as much as R168 billion, while at the same time alleviating pressure on Eskom’s operating cash flow, enabling expenditure on much-needed capital to restore the energy availability of Eskom’s fleet of power stations and to invest in strengthening and expansion of the networks.