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Energy expert Ted Blom: Time running out for Eskom

Energy expert Ted Blom says that no bailouts will assist Eskom if the operational structure of the company doesn't change.

Eskom's chairperson Zola Tsotsi revealed the power utility will be suspending four executives as part of an independent inquiry into the business at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on 12 March 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Energy expert Ted Blom says that no bailouts will assist Eskom if the operational structure of the company doesn't change.

Blom said that Eskom’s current board has failed at coming up with a viable turnaround strategy.

The utility recently had to approach the National Treasury to secure a R17.6 billion bailout in order to keep operations going.

Eskom is in dire financial constraints with the government expected to spend R69 billion over the next three years to keep it operational.

Blom says time is running out.

“The current board hasn’t managed to do it in a year-and-a-half and incapable of doing that. If that is not done immediately, this could mean the end of Eskom after almost 100 years.”

Despite government ensuring that Eskom will be able to keep the lights on throughout winter, Blom isn't convinced.

Blom said that the failure by Eskom to receive a loan from the China Development Bank as planned is proof that the parastatal is set to collapse.

“There are some hard decisions that need to be made and this needs the strong political will to take those decisions and if that’s not the case, South Africa will sink with Eskom.”

Reports have emerged that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni wants retired Absa CEO Maria Ramos to lead the planned unbundling of the power utility.

“First, Eskom won’t respect her as a person because that’s the culture in the organisation. Secondly, that person will be hamstrung by the lack of knowledge by the industry.”

But Blom is not convinced this will help.

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