Cape Town – Eskom acting chief executive Brian Molefe told MPs on Wednesday morning that the embattled supplier needs to find 3 000 MW by the end of the year.
Molefe responded to prompting by the public enterprises committee chairperson, who asked how that gap of 3 000 MW could be found. He said: "Somehow we need to find the 3 000 MW by the end of the year."
"We need to come back to you [the MPs]," said Molefe. "We need to see the possibilities that exist... where we can get (it) and what is the price. Let us go back as a team and look at the possibilities that exist."
The possibilities, he suggested, included accelerating "part of the build programme... and build in budgets... which [also] allow us to do maintenance without load shedding."
Molefe, however, acknowledged that there were money issues. "We need to look at the balance between tariffs and debt," he said.
Accusations of 'delinquency'
It had to be decided to "what extent we have the appetite to see Eskom's gearing increased," he noted. Molefe said this decision had to be taken within the context of being downgraded: "We are already classified as non-investment grade," he said.
It had to be decided whether Eskom would go to the markets and burden itself with further debt "or increase tariffs to pay for the consumption of electricity".
Asked if certain executives and board members had been found to have "fingers in the cookie jar" by Inkatha MP Narend Singh, he said the question did not have sufficient detail to act on it.
He suggested that MPs and members of the public could phone a toll free line to make whistle-blowing statements.
Responding to MPs who asked about poor maintenance programmes, Molefe said: "Eskom is accused of being delinquent... not building more power stations and not maintaining [them].
"We have been asking for money to do so. We have not got the necessary tariff increases and transfers from (National) Treasury," he said.
But the bottom line was that "we have to do maintenance, we have to build the power stations to take us into the future. We have to maintain to ensure that we look after the power stations that we have".
He said Eskom would be "breaking away" to do a "detailed strategic plan" as soon as possible.