Eskom expects no power cuts for rest of summer, winter

The power utility says it does not expect to implement electricity blackouts until April 2016.

Picture: freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Power utility Eskom does not expect to implement electricity cuts for the rest of the southern hemisphere summer and winter, its chief executive said on Thursday.

"Eskom has stabilised and we don't anticipate load shedding for the rest of summer and winter," Brian Molefe told a news conference.

The utility, which is battling an electricity shortage, had said in November that it does not expect to implement electricity blackouts until April 2016.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Molefe says the power grid has stabilised and he doesn't expect any load shedding.

Molefe and the Eskom board have delivered a network update this afternoon.

He says the parastatal will be able to continue its planned maintenance this year, without load shedding.

Molefe says the parastatal has managed to keep the lights on for a 176 without load shedding - and he doesn't expect anything to change now.

The CEO says the need to carry out unplanned maintenance has decreased - and planned repairs have been completed without the need to cut power

"We will continue with planned maintenance. We remain focused on delivering on our capital expansion programme."

He says the utility will use independent power producers and gas turbines to avoid load shedding.

'TOUGH FINANCIAL SITUATION'

Last month, Eskom cut off electricity to five Northern Cape municipalities for repeatedly defaulting on payment.

Eskom said it had issued several warnings the municipalities and made special payment arrangements, which have been ignored.

Eskom is owed R32 billion by customers, industrial users and municipalities.

The parastatal has said that if the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) turns down its application to increase tariffs, it will be in a tough financial situation.

Nersa has been holding public hearings across the country, giving members of the South Africans an opportunity to respond to Eskom's application.

Eskom has asked for a 16.6 percent tariff hike to recoup R22.8 billion.