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Molefe to remain as Eskom boss until mid-July

Brian Molefe said he will be at Eskom until next month as agreed by the board and the minister.

FILE: Eskom acting CEO Brian Molefe briefing media. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom's acting CEO Brian Molefe said he will be at the utility until next month as agreed and has not received any indication about whether he will stay on.

Molefe was heading Transnet when his appointment to Eskom was announced two months ago.

During a press briefing about the state of Eskom's power system on Wednesday, Molefe explained that he is expected to continue in this position until mid-July.

"The agreement is that I'll be here until mid-July and until further notice, that's the position. If there are any changes I think the board and the minister will indicate."

Meanwhile, Molefe said the utility wants to ramp up maintenance work this winter and limit load shedding.

He provided an update on Eskom's achievements and plans over the next few months and he said Eskom had performed much better than it had predicted at the beginning of the year.

But he did not put up a calendar showing the high risk days of when load shedding is likely, because he feels the team will be able to outperform their predictions.

While evening peak hours remains a high risk for rolling blackouts, Molefe says this is because winter is expected to be colder than last year.

The load shedding stages have also been amended slightly, meaning the country will move into stage 3 when Eskom needs to shed 3,000 MW and no longer 4,000 MW.

TARIFF HIKES

Molefe also defended the parastatal's application for a further tariff hike, saying it needs to keep the lights on.

Molefe says the latest tariff hike request is based on a number of factors, one of them being an available budget to keep buying diesel.

Eskom uses diesel generators when the power system is constrained in order to keep the lights on and avoid load shedding.

Molefe says purchasing diesel is cheaper than implementing load shedding, which has a major impact on the economy.

He also says the plan for this winter is to ramp up maintenance work and limit load shedding especially during business hours.

Eskom has applied for a 25.3 percent hike, including a 12 percent price increase which has already been approved.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has indicated that even if this is approved, it will only be implemented in the next financial year.

To read Molefe's full statement, click here.