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Eskom gives assurances of no load shedding for now, but the utility's troubles are far from over

by , 12 January 2015

On Friday, power utility Eskom said it had to start load shedding as its electricity supplies were again under pressure.

The company said it envisaged load shedding this week as power supplies would be under pressure as businesses got back into full swing and schools reopened for the year.

Today, Eskom announced that its power supplies are under pressure, but stable and it should be able to avoid load shedding for now. But the company is in severe financial strife.

Let's take a closer look at what's going on…

Eskom says it has no plans for load shedding today

This morning, Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said the “power system is currently constrained, but stable,” says IOL. He added that it’s dealing with the rise in demand for power and it is the company’s “aspiration” not to begin load shedding.

But as the New Year gets underway, Eskom is facing a multitude of problems.

It’s “financially and technically strained,” reports the SABC. Eskom needs “billions of rands to keep pump stations fired with diesel”. And this is leading to fears that more power stoppages are only around the corner.

Eskom “has admitted it has nearly depleted its budget to buy diesel,” says iAfrica. This amounts to around R1 billion a month.

Eskom needs R20 billion from the government to keep operating

Mr Phasiwe says the power utility is in need of a R20 billion injection from the government “to maintain operational stability,” adds iAfrica.

The issue with providing the country with enough electricity is denting confidence in the economy. And with the economy struggling to grow, this isn’t good news for SA.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said that “Eskom must sort out its problems because they are hurting the economy,” reports Fin24. But Mr Nene said that a government bailout isn’t the answer, even though the government will “do its part”.

Until Eskom sorts out its ageing power stations and brings new power stations online, it looks likely that power supply issues and load shedding are going to continue to hit the country.

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Eskom gives assurances of no load shedding for now, but the utility's troubles are far from over
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