23/11/2010 Eskom CEO Brian Dames during an announcement of their interim financial results at Sunninghill JHB. (881) Photo: Leon Nicholas

The demand for electricity is declining, Eskom finance director Paul O'Flaherty said on Tuesday.

“We were predicting that sales would go down,” he added.

Releasing its interim results in Johannesburg, Eskom posted electricity sales of 110,766 Gigawatt Hours (Gwh) for the six months to 30 September 2012.

For the same period one year ago, sales of electricity reached 114,043Gwh.

Electricity sales are subject to seasonal fluctuations and Eskom made most of its profit in the first half of its financial year.

CEO Brian Dames said electricity sales had also declined during the 2008 recession, and in the late 1990s.

“We have seen some changes in customer behaviour. It is very important to have a plan and implement the plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Eskom's costs were increasing.

Primary energy costs increased by 14.3 percent to reach R25 billion for the six months, compared to R21.9 billion for the previous period.

Operating expenditure rose by 24.1 percent, reaching R26.9 billion from R21.7 billion previously.

Profit for the second half of the year would be much lower than the R21.6 billion posted for the first half, said Dames.

Because repairs and maintenance were scheduled for the second half, full year profit could be below that of the first half.

“If we break even for the second half, I think it will be a good performance,” he said.

Eskom had secured 80 percent of the funding it needed for its R300 billion expansion programme, with Medupi's first unit to come online by the end of next year.

Dames also announced O'Flaherty had resigned.

He would leave the company after the next annual general meeting, in July next year. - Sapa