South Africa: No Light At the End of Eskom's Tunnel Until Blockages Are Cleared

opinion

The opacity at Eskom must end so that contracts can be re-examined to reveal corrupt or conflicted practices, the maintenance and rebuild must be quantified and the workforce repurposed with a credible plan actioned against the requirements of a stable baseload.

Much discussion around Eskom focuses on how to address the utility's self-inflicted financial woes. Whether this comes from proposed debt-for-equity swaps from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), continued government bailouts, government guarantees to renewable energy producers or price hikes - all of which have significant implications - it doesn't address the fundamental question: Is Eskom fixable?

The phrase, "Eskom is too big to fail", is trotted out ad nauseam by government and Eskom while the company continues its death spiral. Meanwhile, electricity supply, which needs to be both affordable and available, is destined to be neither.

Eskom's CEO André de Ruyter recently affirmed, in a presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee (PPC), his commitment to have the company stabilised in 18 months - the buck, he said, stopped with him. In the interim, supply is unstable and increasingly unaffordable.

Approximately 85% of Eskom's business is the generation of electricity to meet demand. This is the heart of the business...

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