Govt confident of finance plan for Eskom

Cabinet announced today that it has set up a technical war room to implement the plan.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Government says it's confident its five point plan will lift Eskom out of its financial crisis and ultimately lead to the lights staying on permanently.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe delivered a post-Cabinet briefing in Pretoria today where he emphasised government's concern about the disruptive effects of the recent power outages.

Cabinet announced today that it has set up a technical war room to implement the plan.

This week, Eskom Chief Executive Officer, Tshediso Matona urged customers to start planning their lives and businesses around power cuts, saying this will be a reality for the foreseeable future.

However Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has assured South Africans that the utility has enough funds to run the power plants until the end of January and they have a plan to help Eskom.

Radebe says government is concerned about continuous load shedding and how it's impacting on the public and the economy.

He says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been tasked with overseeing a turnaround for Eskom and two other state-owned entities, South African Airways and the South African Post Office.

GAS MAY SUBSTITUTE DIESEL

Government is looking at substituting diesel with gas to fire up diesel power plants which are being used extensively at the moment to keep the lights on.

Brown says Eskom has enough funds until the end of January.

"There are cash flow problems but Eskom has enough money to provide for the diesel so what government has to do is to look at ongoing financial security of the parastatal."

Eskom meanwhile will have to submit a detailed financial plan to cabinet this month on how it intends going forward.

GOVERNMENT TRYING TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

A technical team will also ensure other interventions are implemented, such as co-generation opportunities.

The minister says government is implementing an energy mix of solar, wind, coal, gas and nuclear to help increase generating capacity.

Radebe says there are even immediate steps that can be taken.

Earlier this morning, the power utility said its system was relatively stable and there was no risk of load shedding today.

In the meantime, South Africans have been urged to use electricity sparingly as government and Eskom try to alleviate ongoing load shedding.