Eskom to continue importing electricity

Eskom currently imports 200 megawatts from Namibia and 1,500 megawatts from Mozambique.

Power lines running to a coal power station near Johannesburg. Picture: Kim Ludbrook/EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says if it stops importing electricity from neighbouring Namibia and Mozambique it will not be able to continue maintenance or avoid load shedding.

The power utility currently imports 200 megawatts from Namibia and 1,500 megawatts from Mozambique.

Eskom says it's paying a standard tariff for this extra electricity which is meant to fill the gap created by old systems going offline.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says, "No one is taking advantage because the other one is under pressure. All of us are essentially helping each other out because all of us are part of the Southern African power pool which is an agreement between all the power utilities within the Southern African Region."

The power utility is expecting a R20 billion bailout from the government to maintain operational stability.

Eskom also says it needs to raise tariffs in order to recover some of its operating costs.

Consumers will be hit with a 12.69 percent electricity tariff hike in April this year.

At the same time, Eskom has also warned of rolling blackouts to relieve pressure on the national electricity grid.

The power utility says load shedding may for the next few months.