South Africa: No Surprise As Eskom Announces Record Loss

Eskom has announced a net financial loss of R21-billion, the highest reported by any single company in South Africa. The big problem was the amount spent on diesel to keep the lights on.

Generating electricity from burning diesel drilled a hole through the finances of electricity producer Eskom. The utility burnt R6.5-billion worth of diesel during the year ended March 2019 in order to supplement its core generating capacity of coal-fired power stations and avoid rationing electricity.

That was R6-billion more spent on diesel than in the previous year, the utility said in the presentation of its financial results on Tuesday 30 July.

The net financial loss of R21-billion is the highest reported by any single company in South Africa. This came off revenue of R180-billion, higher than the R177-billion the previous year.

The increased usage of the diesel-guzzling emergency open-cycle gas turbines (OCGT) became necessary as the performance of the nuclear, coal and renewable energy power stations declined due to an energy availability factor (EAF - the amount of time stations are able to generate electricity) of 70%, down from 78% the previous year.

The performance of the coal-fired stations was hardest hit, declining to 67% EAF in the...

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