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Eskom won't compromise on maintenance in the future, De Ruyter tells Scopa

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said that maintenance would increase the likelihood of load shedding over the next 18 months but it would ensure a reliable and sustainable power fleet going forward.

New Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter at a briefing at Megawatt Park on 31 January 2020. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the utility would not compromise on maintenance in the future.

He said that maintenance would increase the likelihood of load shedding over the next 18 months but it would ensure a reliable and sustainable power fleet going forward.

De Ruyter on Tuesday made his first appearance before Scopa.

Meanwhile, Eskom said it was not planning to implement load shedding today but the utility has warned the situation could change with little notice.

SCOPA UNHAPPY

Eskom officials got a tongue-lashing from MPs when the utility’s board failed to appear before Scopa.

De Ruyter and others executives appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts to give an update following last year’s oversight visit by parliamentarians.

De Ruyter’s first appearance in Parliament didn’t get off to a smooth start as MPs complained that board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba was not present.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa accused Makgoba and fellow board members of dereliction of duty.

"It's unacceptable that the board is not here. Whatever considerations were given, they should have been communicated to myself prior."

When he did finally address the committee, De Ruyter said that the company needed to restructure it's R450 billion debt.

He promised to end the culture of non-payment by electricity users.

"We are progressively continuing to pursue enhanced revenue collection from municipalities that have not been paying as well as the residents of Soweto in particular. We are seeing an improvement."

The power utility said that it was also looking at its contracts with suppliers at Kusile and Medupi who have sucked billions from the company.