‘Risk of load shedding remains high this winter’ – Eskom

Eskom is now forecasting that there will be three days of load shedding during the coming winter period, from a previous forecast of thirty days before the lockdown.

Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter says Eskom’s debt still remains high at R450-billion and the company is still not able to generate enough revenue to meet its debt servicing costs.

De Ruyter says load shedding has had major cost implications for the company and the country’s economy, while the lockdown has also presented a number of other limitations for the business.

De Ruyter was addressing media during a briefing at Eskom’s Megawatt head office in Johannesburg.

Eskom has given assurance that despite its financial challenges, it will not be approaching government for bailouts any time soon.

Eskom has thus far received a R23-billion of the R69-billion government bailout to be released over a three-year period.

De Ruyter says Eskom is developing plans to improve its balance sheet through a number of cost cutting measures and improvements to its generation system.

“We are going to be embarking on a renegotiation process with our IPP’s. We are also continuing to improve our systems to allow us to have far greater governance on our procurement system.”

De Ruyter says the restructuring process at Eskom is still underway however the ‘distribution’ side of the business is proving to be more complex and will need further work.

He says the Chief Restructuring Officer’s report is yet to be submitted to government.

“As far as the CRO is concerned, the CRO Report was meant to be handed to government at the end of February, I understand that for a variety of reasons that I’m not fully familiar with, that report has not been handed over. We are making our plans under the guidance of the boards and the shareholder.”

Eskom’s Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer says the lockdown has delayed the company’s plans to carry out its reliability maintenance program. He says the risk of load shedding remains high over the next 18 month.

“What has helped us during the last 8 weeks doing these short term urgent maintenance, when we ran the model again, we are now forecasting 3 days of stage 1 load shedding. Due to the neglect of our system over the last decade, the system remain unpredictable and very unreliable.”

Eskom has indicated that despite a significant drop in demand, it has not suspended any supply of coal from existing contracts.

It says it intends to pay for the coal that has already been delivered to the power stations.

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Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)