Time running out for Eskom to come up with funds

Eskom says unless it receives additional govt funds, it will run out of money to buy diesel from mid-Feb.

FILE: Eskom has warned the public that load shedding will be a reality for the next few months. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Business and industry leaders are calling for suggestions on how to survive regular power cuts which have been proposed in order to avoid a national blackout.

Eskom says load shedding will be a reality for the next few months as the cuts will help protect the power grid and prevent a complete national blackout.

The utility has been battling to keep up with demand due to limited generating capacity, ageing infrastructure and several technical issues at its power stations.

It has indicated that unless it receives additional government funds, it will run out of money to buy diesel, which is being used to run open gas turbines, from mid-February.

These are being used extensively at the moment to make up for the shortfall in generating capacity after a coal silo collapse at the Majuba Power Station.

Time is running out for the utility to figure out how it is going to survive financially from February.

It needs additional funds to keep on buying diesel which is being used to run open gas turbines extensively to make up the shortfall in the electricity supply.

But there's still no word or action plan from government.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Peggy Drodskie says Eskom's woes will affect everyone.

"The only thing we can say to businesses is take a look at the benefits of installing a generator."

Eskom says the risk of load shedding will increase towards the end of the week.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed last year to implement a turnaround strategy for the utility but as yet there's no word on his action plan or whether government will provide funds.

Economist Azar Jammine says raising funds will be difficult.

Meanwhile, the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee has been granted access to visit two of Eskom's power stations.

Parliament has now allowed the committee to enter the Majuba and Lethabo Power Stations to perform an assessment.

The Democratic Alliance's Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises Natasha Michael says it's important to find out exactly what is happening at these power stations.