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Load shedding: Eskom and government promise to ‘find’ money for diesel

As the country continues to suffer with chronic load shedding at even higher stages, Eskom and government have pledged to find money for diesel to keep the lights on.

This comes after Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan on Sunday evening convened an urgent meeting with the ailing parastatal’s board members, led by the chairperson Mpho Makwana.

Eskom said on Sunday it had run out of cash to buy diesel, and does not plan to order any more until 1 April 2023.

Load shedding

With the country moving to stage four and five load shedding this week, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said there were serious concerns about the risk of higher levels load shedding in the coming months.

ALSO READ: Does Eskom really share South Africans’ pain of load shedding?

Eskom’s board committee had recently met with power station managers and the generation capacity management team to get a better understanding of the situation at the country’s power stations.

“The DPE is urgently working with National Treasury and Eskom for it to find the money to buy supplies of diesel.”

Other issues

The department would also in the coming days engage with Eskom on a number of issues, including looking for savings within the existing funds for the ongoing purchase of diesel and maintenance.

The board has also tabled an assessment of the challenges the power giant faces with its current fleet of power stations, highlighting “exceptional interventions” needed to create more reliability in the performance of power stations.

Urgent assistance

The department wants Eskom to urgently seek assistance from enforcement bodies to immediately halt all local level disruptions and criminal activities impacting power stations.

“All possible efforts are being made to ensure that all of the measures in the national electricity plan are implemented,” the DPE said.

Diesel budget blown

Seven months into its current financial year, Eskom has already exceeded its R11 billion diesel budget by about R1 billion, which means that for the next few months it will struggle to afford to run its diesel-powered emergency generation fleet.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer warned that the utility was now in a “difficult position” where it was forced to implement load shedding, as it did not “have the money to burn diesel at the rate [it] has been doing up to now.”

Complied by Faizel Patel

ALSO READ: Stage 4 load shedding returns from 5pm, more blackouts expected next week – Eskom

from The Citizen https://www.citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/load-shedding/eskom-govenment-money-diesel-higher-load-shedding/

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