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Eskom's financial woes in the spotlight

The parastatal said it's expecting about R20billion from government to help it continue buying diesel.

Eskom's Arnot power station in Mpumalanga. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom's financial woes remain firmly in the spotlight on Monday with the utility expecting a bailout from government.

But there's no indication as to how or when government will assist.

Eskom says it will run out of money by the middle of February and needs funding to buy diesel for its generators in order to keep the lights on.

Stage one load shedding was implemented on Friday for the first time in 2015 when generators suddenly broke down, forcing the power giant to cut electricity without notice.

The parastatal said it's expecting about R20 billion from government to help it continue buying diesel.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene reportedly read the riot act to Eskom bosses, saying they must sort out their problems which are affecting the economy.

It is understood government will "play its part" but Nene warns that day-to-day operations are the utility's responsibility.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says they are waiting for feedback from government on how they'll buy diesel when funds run out.

"The critical issues are being dealt with and at the right time, the government will make an announcement."

But economist Iraj Abedian says a bailout won't help.

"The more funding is given the more the problems will deepen. Government doesn't have a coherent national energy policy."

Eskom says while power grid is stable, load shedding remains a risk this week.

It warned South Africans must be prepared for load shedding at all times.

The company, which supplies 95 percent of South Africa's power supply, said the grid can change at any time.

The parastatal experienced major supply problems last year when a coal silo collapsed at the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga.

This reduced 1,800 megawatts from the power grid.

Eskom has also been battling with ageing infrastructure and limited generating capacity.

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