Johannesburg – Power utility Eskom’s immediate challenge is keeping the lights on in the country, its CEO Brian Dames said on Monday.
“We’ve always said that the next few years will be tight in terms of energy provision. The question is: how do we keep the lights on over the next seven years? But we can do it,” Dames said.
Eskom has embarked on a five-year R380bn capital expenditure programme that will see the construction of new power stations among other expansion.
The construction of some of the stations such as Medupi in Limpopo Province has already started, while other power stations mothballed a few years ago are being brought back into service to ensure supply.
“We have the task of adding vast amounts of power in the next few decades,” Dames added.
Eskom supplies 95% of the electricity used in South Africa. About 30% of South Africans still do not have access to electricity.
Dames noted that supply and demand constraints were still visible and that “universal access to electricity” remained a challenge.
Eskom would approach international markets to raise the capital needed for its multibillion rand expansion programme.
“We need to have investors trust us with their money,” he said.
A review process was initiated at the parastatal in an effort to turn it around.
Dames said that some progress had been made on the full review process, and that the second part was to grow the company on a sustainable basis.
“We’re satisfied as the board with the direction Eskom is taking. Our job is to support the executive team,” Eskom chair, Mpho Makwana, said.