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JOHANNESBURG - Eskom chief executive Phakamani Hadebe will on Wednesday present the power utility's interim for the first six months of the 2018/19 financial year. 

Hadebe last week told parliament's committee on public enterprises that the financial situation at the embattled power utility would remain dire for the next few years, with its debt burden likely to grow from R400 billion to some R550 billion.

"The institution is really under severe financial strain," Hadebe told the committee.

Acting chief financial officer Calib Cassim said the problem was partly the company's inability to service its debt from its earnings, forcing it to borrow more.

He said Eskom hoped its expenditure levels would stabilize within the next three years once its new build power plants were completed, but the picture was further clouded by the need for backlog maintenance.

On Tuesday Eskom signed a loan agreement with the African Development Bank Group of R2.886 billion and U.S.$25 million, which will be used to improve power transmission in southern Africa. 

Eskom, which contributes about three quarters of the total installed power generation capacity in the Southern African Power Pool, exports to at least six countries in the region.

Cassim said the company was encouraged by the level of support it continued to receive from developing finance institutions such as the AfDB.

"We are particularly thankful for the continued support in a time when Eskom has made major advancements towards fully securing the R72 billion funding requirement for this year," he said.

- African News Agency (ANA)