050910 Electricity pylons carry power from Cape Town's Koeberg nuclear power plant July 17, 2009. South Africa will need 20 gigawatts (GW) of new power generation capacity by 2020 and would require double that amount a decade later to meet rising demand, the country's power utility said September 7, 2009. Picture taken July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA ENERGY BUSINESS)

SA electricity production increased by 10.7% quarter on quarter (q/q) at a seasonally adjusted annualised (saa) rate in the third quarter‚ after a 8.8% q/q saa drop in the second quarter‚ Statistics SA (Stats SA) data showed on Thursday.

Despite the surge in the third quarter‚ electricity production was down 1.8% year on year (y/y) in the first nine months as Eskom battles with an ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations. The first unit of the new Medupi power station is only due to come online towards the end of next year.

That is why Eskom has asked consumers to cut their electricity consumption by 10%‚ but so far consumption is only down 2.5% y/y in the first nine months.

The first snowfall since September 1981 in Gauteng in August 2012 sent peak power demand to 35‚527 Megawatts (MW) on August 7‚ when the snowfall took place.

The peak demand so far this year was supposed to be 36‚258MW on July 16‚ according to Eskom’s 54th system status bulletin. Demand side management‚ which involves asking large industrial users to temporarily stop some industrial processes‚ meant that the actual peak demand was only 35‚443MW or a saving of 815MW on July 16.

In addition to increased industrial demand after the switch to cheaper summer tariffs on September 1‚ Eskom is also battling with supply issues as the 900MW Unit 2 of the Koeberg nuclear power station was shut down for routine maintenance and refuelling‚ while there were reduced imports from the 1‚500MW Cahora Bassa hydro-electric dam in Mozambique since mid—July because of a fault on the transmission infrastructure.

This meant that electricity imports plunged by 51.3% y/y in September according to Stats SA‚ while exports fell by 9.5% y/y over the same period.

According to the World Bank Enterprise Survey 2011‚ Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is one of the main regions where firms identify electricity supply as a major constraint. SSA is also the region with the highest percentage of electricity provided by generators. Deficiencies in energy infrastructure occur in electricity production‚ transmission and distribution. - I-Net Bridge