Power Crisis

No load shedding for 9 months

2009-01-23 14:19

Special Report

Eskom may seek 34% tariff hike

Eskom is set to seek a 34% hike in electricity tariffs, back from the 88% rise it had been considering due to the global economic slowdown, a newspaper says.

Johannesburg - There has been no load shedding since April last year, state-owned electricity company Eskom said on Friday.

"Although we may have had distribution or transmission faults, we've had no load shedding since April 2008," Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said at a media briefing held in Johannesburg.

Maroga said that last year had been an extremely challenging one for the power utility, but lessons had been learned.

"We learned that we could not put ourselves in a situation where continuous supply is compromised," he said.

Eskom's coal stocks in January 2008 had been equivalent to ten days.

However, over the past eight months, Eskom had been able to improve that figure to 38 days, Maroga said.

"Now none of our power stations have below 20 days of coal stocks - but this comes at a cost - we've had to deal with costs associated with buying short-term coal - but it's a good price to pay for securing electricity supply to the country," he said.

Contribution to economy

Eskom was the biggest consumer of coal produced in South Africa, Maroga added.

This fact, he said, showed Eskom's enormous contribution to the country's economy.

"We have recognised the macroeconomic footprint of Eskom in SA and we must maintain this."

Maroga said that the building of the Medupi power station had contributed enormously to the economy in that it had had a "huge impact" on development in the area from rail and road facilities to housing and sanitation.

Medupi, with a total planned capacity of 4 800 megawatts, would be completed on time, he said.

"Its first unit will be commissioned in the first half of 2012," Maroga said.

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