File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters
File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

There will not be load-shedding this year, says Eskom

By Reuters And IOL Time of article published May 3, 2018

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Johannesburg - South African power utility Eskom, which is struggling from a financial crisis, said on Thursday that it would not resort to controlled power blackouts this year despite previous reports that it was facing coal shortages.

"There will not be load-shedding this year," said Eskom's acting Chief Executive Phakamani Hadebe, referring to forced interruptions to power supply. 

Hadebe was speaking at a media briefing on the state of the system at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg.

Eskom supplies about 95 percent of South Africa's electricity, predominantly by burning coal. The state-owned utility has been forced to introduce nationwide electricity cuts in the past decade, the latest in 2015, denting economic output.

Hadebe said that six power plants currently had less than the required coal supplies, down from seven recently, and the company has raised R43 billion to run its operations since January.

"I can tell you without any shadow of doubt that we are safe," Hadebe said. "We are confident that we are on the right trajectory."

Eskom appointed a new board of directors in January to resolve a leadership crisis. New President Cyril Ramaphosa in February appointed former finance minister Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister, in charge of state companies such as Eskom.

The power company was at the heart of corruption scandals surrounding ousted president Jacob Zuma and is regularly cited by ratings agencies as a threat to the country's creditworthiness. Zuma has denied any wrongdoing. 

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