Eskom seeks CEOs input on resolving power crisis

The purpose of the discussions was to identify initiatives where parties can collaborate and to leverage private sector investment capacity.
ndre de Ruyter, chief executive officer of Eskom. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The head of South Africa’s state-owned utility company met with business leaders to encourage investment and energy sector partnerships as the country seeks to increase the supply of electricity and end a 14-year power crisis.

Eskom Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter engaged with CEOs and leaders of more than 70 private institutions on July 29, the company said in an emailed statement. The purpose of the discussions was to identify initiatives where parties can collaborate and to leverage private sector investment capacity.

“Energy is not coffee, you will never get instant solutions,” Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said Sunday on the sidelines of a national policy conference near Johannesburg. “As you deal with the energy crisis, you discover rudely that it is actually a base load crisis.”

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity, last month implemented the worst power cuts since 2019 to avoid a complete breakdown of the nation’s system. The company instituted load-shedding to remove 6,000 megawatts from the grid, enough for 4 million homes. That was the worst cut since the near collapse of the grid in 2008.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced that the government had scrapped a 100 megawatt limit on private power generation to allow companies to build power plants of any size without a license to meet their own needs and sell to the grid.

The government also doubled renewable energy procurement to 5 200 megawatts to accelerate the country’s shift toward wind and solar and away from coal, which the nation depends on for more than 80% of its power.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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