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Energy experts poke holes in Zuma’s Eskom proposals

UCT professor Trevor Gaunt says Zuma spoke of plans that were already in existence.

FILE: The country has experienced weeks of power outages. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - An energy expert says President Jacob Zuma did not give real or new solutions to the country's electricity crisis during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday.

Zuma conceded that Eskom's power issues were a stumbling block for economic growth.

He said, "Overcoming the challenge is uppermost in our programme, we are doing everything we can to resolve the energy challenge."

But University of Cape Town professor Trevor Gaunt says Zuma spoke of plans that were already in existence.

"There was nothing new, he spoke about all the plans which in fact were already plans in 2010."

The president said government would invest R23 billion in the power utility but Gaunt is adamant the bail out won't help.

Zuma said Eskom had been directed to switch from diesel to gas as it continued to grapple with the nation's energy woes, adding that the construction of three new power stations would add 10,000 megawatts to the national grid.

On the back of this, Eskom told Eyewitness News that there is a 50 percent chance that it will have to implement load shedding today but so far it expects no rolling blackouts for the weekend.

On Thursday, the utility managed to keep the lights on during the Sona.

The parastatal's Khulu Pasiwe says, "The risk is moderate, we might have to reconsider our position if there are technical breakdowns."