The former acting CEO of South Africa’s state power utility blamed its crippling levels of debt on excessive costs incurred in building new plants and denied that it could be attributed to corruption.
Eskom has warned that there is a high risk of load shedding on Monday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the financial and operational challenges faced by power utility Eskom are not caused by the independent power producer programme.
Massive areas of South Africa’s largest city were hit by power outages on Friday afternoon after a power line from state-owned utility Eskom tripped during planned maintenance.
Energy regulator Nersa has allowed Eskom to raise prices by less than what the embattled company estimates it needs, keeping pressure on its balance sheet while also adding to inflation strains.
South Africa plans to expand use of renewable power as the coal-dependent nation expects traditional, centralised generation plants to “disappear”, energy minister Jeff Radebe said.
South Africa plans to cut the state wage bill over the next three years to keep spending under control as the economy flags and it bails out the struggling state power utility.
The R100-billion debt support Eskom has requested from government is not nearly enough to return the struggling utility to sustainability, says Business Unity South Africa.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni is looking for a way to keep the country’s main power producer from sucking the life out of the economy.
South Africa will deploy police and intelligence officers at Eskom power stations to prevent sabotage as the government implements a plan to end outages and help the utility recover.