Energy analyst doubts Stats SA’s electricity numbers 

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According to data published by Statistics South Africa, electricity production decreased by 8% on a year-on-year basis in January 2023.

The data further shows that electricity generation increased by 1.3% on a monthly basis in January 2023 compared with December 2022.

The statistical release contains information regarding the number of electricity units produced and consumed in South Africa, the number of units purchased and sold outside South Africa and the number of units distributed by Eskom on a monthly basis.

Stats SA notes that electricity generation decreased by 2.8% in the three months ended January 2023 compared with the previous three months:.

The data further indicates that electricity distribution decreased by 7.3% on a year-on-year basis in January 2023.

Energy Analyst Tshepo Kgadime says the numbers seem understated and therefore cannot be relied upon.

“For the calendar year of 2022, there was over 200 days of rolling blackouts and therefore there couldn’t have been additional electricity to have been transmitted or distributed to any user in the country on the simple basis that South Africa operates what is known as a unitary grid, and simply put it means that every electricity that is produced or standing to be transmitted onto any grid, which is what the measure would be that Statistics South Africa applies. That electricity would have to be accounted for and we know as a matter of fact that we’re going through rolling blackouts.”

The data further indicates that electricity distribution increased by 1.4% on a month-on-month basis in January 2023, after dropping significantly in December 2022.

Kgadime says there are more questions than answers where Eskom’s metering system is concerned.

“Eskom has a much bigger problem which it’s going to have to confront and that is their metering systems have not been calibrated for a very long time and therefore the is a question mark in terms of the accuracy in measuring the electrons that go through those metering systems that they rely on. And this will be seen in their audited financial statements whereby they report that they’re still selling the same units of electricity to the users in South Africa notwithstanding the higher stages of load shedding.”