Eskom still in limbo over rescue plan

Govt is yet to announce whether it will give Eskom a R20 billion bailout.

Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Government is keeping mum on its action plan to help Eskom financially over the next few months in order to keep the lights on.

Last week, the utility announced that it's battling financially, especially in terms of buying diesel to keep generators running extensively in order to keep up with electricity demand.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was also appointed late last year to implement a turnaround strategy for the parastatal, but he is yet to announce his action plan.

The Democratic Alliance's David Ross meanwhile says the finance minister needs to hold an urgent briefing to update the public on the way forward.

"The Treasury indicated in the medium term budget policy statement in September 2014 that a R20 billion rescue package will be allocated to Eskom. We would like to discuss with the minister the contents of the rescue package which according to our information will include equity investment as well as adjusting Eskom tariffs."

Meanwhile, Eskom says it has backup resources to cover the energy deficit when Koeberg generators go in for maintenance in February.

One of two nuclear generators in Cape Town will be down for up to three months while undergoing maintenance work next month, potentially straining the national grid even further.

The parastatal's Khulu Phasiwe says while the national grid is strained, it has an adequate reserve margin.

"At this stage the power stage is constrained but stable, meaning that we do experience high electricity demand, but we have enough generating capacity to meet that demand. That's why the lights are still on."