South Africa: More Dark Days Ahead As Eskom's Diesel Budget Runs Dry

Eskom's national control centre (file photo).
17 November 2022

Eskom's finances paint a gloomy picture as the ailing power utility's budget to buy diesel is running on empty.

Eskom needs billions more to keep the country's power on after spending R12 billion on diesel this year alone.

Initially, the budget to buy diesel was R6.1 billion but was later revised to R11.1 billion.

It ended at just over R12 billion, leaving Eskom's financials in dire straits.

This was revealed during a media briefing by Eskom chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer on Tuesday as the country is plunged into more dark days of load shedding.

"We will be forced to implement load shedding because we do not have the money to burn diesel at the rate we have been doing up until now," said Oberholzer.

Oberholzer told a press briefing in March that Eskom was burning through 9 million litres of diesel a day to keep the country's lights on.

Adding to Eskom's financial woes is a massive debt of R400 billion, said Oberholzer on Tuesday.

He said they would know next year in February how the government plans to deal with the debt when the finance minister delivers the budget speech.

The R52 billion of unpaid debt owed to Eskom by some municipalities is also crippling the power utility.

Monde Bala, head of distribution at Eskom, said: "We are holding our breath on whether the government would take over a portion of our debt."

President Cyril Ramaphosa handed his R1.5 trillion Just Energy Transition (JET) to world leaders attending the Cop27 in Egypt. The plan aims to end the energy crisis dogging the country.

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