Eskom latest: 4GW cut from grid, new power deals announced

Eskom will implement stage-4 loadshedding until 4pm on Thursday after more generation units broke down and as the utility rushed to replenish its emergency generation reserves.

The company initially planned to reduce power cuts to stage 2 — where it removes 2GW from the grid — from 5am on Thursday. A further update will be published later in the day, the state-owned utility said in a statement.

Mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe signed agreements for renewable energy projects with two additional preferred bidders.

The projects totaling 203MW form part of the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and comprise a combination of solar photovoltaic, onshore wind and battery storage technologies, the department of mineral resources & energy said in a statement.

Government established a fund to reduce the effect of power outages on the agriculture industry and encourage investment in alternative energy, agricultural & land reform minister Thoko Didiza said.

The fund — a joint project between the agriculture department and the Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa — will provide a combination of loans and grants to qualified recipients, Didiza told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday. It will have R1.2-billion, with R500-million provided by the department and the remainder as loans from the Land Bank.

“The priority will be on supporting dairy farmers, piggeries, poultry, all irrigated commodities and on-farm processing,” she said.

Eskom’s R5-billion loss

Eskom posted a R5-billion loss in the first quarter of its financial year, national treasury’s deputy director-general of public finance, Mampho Modise, told MPs in Cape Town, without providing a comparative figure.

Revenue grew to R70.9-billion in the three months to June, from R66.3-billion a year earlier, driven by a 19% increase in tariffs from April 1, she said.

“Eskom’s profitability remains hampered by poor long-term financial sustainability arising from an inadequate tariff path, poor generating plant performance, escalating arrear municipal debt as well as high financing costs,” Modise said.  — Monique Vanek and S’thembile Cele, with Paul Vecchiatto, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP

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