Still no indication of govt's Eskom plans

Government is yet to make an announcement on its action plan to help Eskom financially.

South African Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - While Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Eskom's headquarters in Johannesburg today, there's still no clear indication of how government will help the utility keep the lights on in the near future.

Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona briefed the media today about the current state of the power system, saying extensive maintenance work is needed to secure electricity supply.

This means regular load shedding for at least the next three months.

Government is yet to make an announcement on its action plan to help Eskom financially.

Eskom is expected to run out of funds by mid-February.

Matona said government has been working with Eskom since December to develop a number of turnaround strategies.

Economists, business and industry leaders are concerned about the impact of further power outages and the sustainability of electricity in the future.

Matona has spent most of his week meeting with board members and business stakeholders regarding what can be expected in terms of electricity supply.

He has released a calendar indicating that load shedding will happen regularly during February, March and April.

Matona said it would take almost as long to fix the current state of the power system as it did for it to deteriorate.

But the head of the parastatal said he was committed to doing the right thing to ensure reliable electricity supply.

He said the utility had not been keeping up with maintenance work which led to equipment becoming unreliable.

"Eskom has not stayed faithful to that maintenance religion for a very long time and I think the unreliability of our equipment is a price that we are paying."

He released a calendar indicating that load shedding will take place regularly during February, March and April.

Matona said this short-term pain was important to ensure supply in the long-term.