South Africa’s government aims to end rolling blackouts by the time of next year’s elections and in the interim the state power utility needs to continue burning diesel to bolster output to save lives and jobs, according to the nation’s electricity minister.
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s government aims to end rolling blackouts by the time of next year’s elections and in the interim the state power utility needs to continue burning diesel to bolster output to save lives and jobs, according to the nation’s electricity minister.
Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has spent about 30 billion rand ($1.6 billion) on diesel so far this year, but the cost to the economy would have been far higher had the country gone without the electricity it generated, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa told lawmakers in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Stage six loadshedding, whereby 6,000 megawatts of capacity are removed from the grid, “can cost the country up to 1 billion rand a day,” the minister said, referring to the local term for power cuts. “Stage-six loadshedding for 2022 resulted in over 620,000 people losing jobs as a direct result” and there are projections are that those numbers could exceed 830,000, he said.
Under the constitution, the elections must be held before the end of August.
Opposition Wants Eskom to Get Diesel License (Sept. 20, 4:30 p.m.)
Steve Swart, a lawmaker for the opposition African Christian Democratic Party, urged Eskom to reapply for a diesel wholesale license, after its initial submission was rejected by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
The license would have “enabled Eskom to buy diesel at the basic fuel price instead of the wholesale price, and would have reduced the price from 23 rand per liter to around 16 rand,” while easing price constraints, Swart said.
The government is looking into the matter, according to Ramokgopa.
Eskom Excluded From Cost Containment Measures (Sept. 20, 8 a.m.)
Eskom has been excluded from the National Treasury’s updated set of cost containment measures, Business Day reported citing a note published by the agency on Monday.
While the rules don’t apply to Eskom, as well as Transnet SOC Ltd., they’ve been asked to apply the guidelines that include reduced spending on hiring, capital spending, travel and conferences. The norms are intended to help slash expenditure as the government grapples with an estimated revenue shortfall of more than 21 billion rand.
Earlier this year, National Treasury partially exempt Eskom from disclosing irregular expenditure and material losses from criminal conduct in annual financial statements but subsequently u-turned on the strategy.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is expected to announce more cost-containment measures in his medium-term budget on Nov. 1.
Read More: South Africa Treasury Releases Guidelines on Cost-Containment Steps
Gordhan Rejects Eskom CEO Recommendation, News24 Says (Sept. 20, 7:57 a.m.)
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has rejected the Eskom board’s candidate recommendation for the new CEO, News24 reported, without saying where it got the information.
In reply to questions on Monday from News24, Gordhan’s spokesperson, Ellis Mnyandu, said it was a requirement of Eskom’s memorandum of incorporation for the board to submit a shortlist of three candidates.
Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim has been acting in the position since February.
Read More: Eskom CEO Shortlist Includes Marokane, Noah: Solidarity Union
Power Outages Ease (Sept. 20, 4:50 a.m.)
Eskom suspended loadshedding until 4 p.m. on Wednesday following a “sustained improvement in generation capacity.”
The power utility will then cut 3,000 megawatts from the grid from from 4 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Thursday, the company said in a statement.
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