Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA’s electricity consumption in May was 20,183 gigawatt-hours (GWh) — its highest since July 2016, Statistics SA reported on Thursday.

A country’s electricity consumption is often used as a reliable measure of a modern economy’s health.

The May electricity reading indicates SA’s economy declined 0.8% from May 2017 using Stats SA’s index of the volume of electricity generated, which was set to 100 in 2015. The index for May came to 106.5 points, down from 107.4 points in May 2017.

Measured in GWh rather than index points, however, May’s electricity was slightly higher than 20,143GWh the previous year.

According to Stats SA data, this country’s electricity consumption peaked at 21,780GWh in July 2007 before tumbling to 16,757GWh at the height of Eskom’s rolling blackouts in February 2009. SA’s electricity consumption has yet to reach the level it was before the 2008 global economic crisis.

Its most recent peak was 20,689GWh in August 2013.

July is usually SA’s peak month for electricity consumption. In 2017, however, May was the only month in which electricity consumption went higher than 20,000GWh. From 2014 to 2016, July was the only month in which electricity consumption went over that amount.