As South Africa grappled with a record-breaking 283 days of load shedding in 2023, the outlook for 2024 is a topic of intense interest and concern. Eskom’s initial system status outlook for the year indicates a persistent challenge in meeting electricity demand, hinting at a continuation of load shedding. However, there are significant developments that may influence the severity of power cuts.

Current Scenario:

In 2023, load shedding reached unprecedented levels, affecting South Africans on approximately 335 days when considering partial-day interruptions. Eskom’s projection for 2024 anticipates a weekly shortage of at least 2,001MW, suggesting a need for regular stage 2 load shedding.

The single biggest factor influencing load shedding is a measure known as the Energy Availability Factor (EAF).  Essentially, the EAF is the percentage of Eskom’s fleet of generators that are in working order and capable of producing electricity – in itself, being a reflection of the effectiveness of Eskom’s maintenance and repair programme. Ideally, the EAF should be in excess of 70% (a level last seen briefly in 2021), whereas for the first months of 2024, it is hovering around 52%.  The graph below also shows that there has been no improvement in the situation since last year:

navigating south africas energy landscape in 2024 img 2

Hope on the Horizon:

Despite the grim forecast, energy expert Chris Yelland (@chrisyelland on X, formerly Twitter) sheds light on potential relief factors. Key developments in Eskom’s generation expansion, including the full operation of Kusile Unit 5, the return of Medupi Unit 4, and the revival of Koeberg Unit 2 are expected to contribute an additional 2,540MW to the grid by Q4 2024. Yelland emphasises the significance of this added capacity, equivalent to mitigating the impact of two and a half stages of load shedding.

In addition, Kusile Unit 6 is scheduled for grid synchronisation in August 2024 and aims to deliver an extra 800MW by February 2025, further strengthening the grid. However, caution is advised due to the unpredictability of unplanned breakdowns in Eskom’s older coal-fired power plants.


Based on the available data, we expect load shedding in 2024 to be on par with 2023, projecting 20 to 50 days without power cuts. The EAF, if stabilised, could mitigate the severity of load shedding, however, Eskom is nowhere near achieving its stated target of 65% for 2024. Furthermore, we acknowledge the challenging task of predicting the exact patterns of load shedding due to unexpected breakdowns.


Considering the uncertainty, Broadreach Energy advises South Africans to expect continued load shedding in the coming years.  The task of turning around Eskom’s ageing and poorly maintained coal fleet, coupled with its dire financial position, is not one that we see being completed in the short term.

As South Africa ventures into 2024, the electricity landscape remains complex. While there are positive signs with capacity at some of Eskom’s major facilities coming back online, the risk of load shedding persists. Stabilising the existing fleet’s performance and implementing planned expansions will play a pivotal role in determining the frequency and intensity of load shedding throughout the year.




Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa via X/Twitter: