Eskom task team appointed, initial recommendations expected in January

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed an Eskom Sustainability Task Team to advise government on actions to resolve Eskom’s operational, structural and financial challenges, the Presidency said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The team is tasked with coming up with solutions to the various problems faced by Eskom, and consists of "individuals with extensive electricity, management and economic expertise", spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

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The team is charged with assessing the operational, structural and financial viability of Eskom, including key assumptions around life of plant, impact and cost of environment commitment, as well as demand assumptions.

It will also review the turnaround strategy submitted by the Eskom Board of Directors.

" This will include a review of key assumptions, impact on tariffs and industry, and viability of proposed solutions on the future role of Eskom," Diko said.

In addition, it will assess the beleaguered power utility's current business model and structure, present a view on current energy trends, and provide proposals regarding the role, positioning and structure of energy utilities.

It will also make proposals to resolve the debt burden.

Who's on the team?

President Ramaphosa appointed the following task team members:

  • Energy policy expert Anton Eberhard
  • Former Eskom CEO Brian Dames
  • Chairperson of the Energy Intensive Users Group Tsakani Mthombeni
  • ACTOM Power head Sy Gourrah
  • Infrastructure and regulatory economist Grové Steyn
  • Former NUM general secretary  Frans Baleni
  • Mining magnate Mick Davis
  • CSIR senior researcher Busisiwe Vilakazi

Urgent intervention 

The task team will consult with various role players including labour and business, Diko said.

"The assessments that will be carried out by the task team arise from government’s concern that the lack of adequate electricity has a negative impact on economic recovery and that there is a need for intervention in the short and medium term, to restore the supply-demand balance," the statement added.

 "This is coupled with severe financial constraints at Eskom, which impact on the fiscus, and where operational and financial issues have become inter-related and need to be addressed simultaneously."

The Board of Directors, Management and the Department of Public Enterprises will work with the task team.

Initial recommendations are expected to be submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa by the end of January 2019. 

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