PetroSA has 50 million liters of diesel for Eskom, but a permanent solution is in the works – Gordhan

Minister for Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.

  • Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Eskom will immediately have 50 million liters of diesel from PetroSA at its disposal.
  • Gordhan said he is working with Eskom and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to find a more permanent solution to the utility’s diesel challenge.
  • Asked whether extraordinary measures would be considered to fix Eskom, Gordhan said the government’s current plans should be given a chance.
  • For more financial stories, see News24 Business front page.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government has identified 50 million liters of diesel to make available to PetroSA’s Eskom immediately as the utility awaits a more permanent solution to its diesel supply problems.

Gordhan orally answered questions from MPs on Wednesday afternoon. Eskom said last week it had exceeded its diesel budget and had no money to buy new shares until April. Diesel is used to power Eskom’s two gas turbine power plants.

PetroSA is not Eskom’s only diesel supplier, but supplies the utility with around 60 million liters a month.

READ | The Eskom diesel plan will be announced in the coming days, says Gordhan

Gordhan said some of PetroSA’s diesel was transported by pipeline and some by truck. He said that the Eskom board is also looking at solutions for power generation, but more needs to be done in this regard. He said the board had met with plant managers and final action would be announced by next week.

“The department itself has established a link between Eskom and PetroSA to find a way, within the limited resources Eskom has, to make diesel immediately available to Eskom. As of this morning, 50 million liters of diesel have been delivered by PetroSA,” said Gordhan.

Gordhan said options for a more permanent solution to the diesel challenge had been identified with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and were being evaluated by the National Treasury team. He said the Ministry of Public Enterprises is expecting a response from the Treasury soon.

“We have taken steps to find funding. First, on Sunday night, the Treasury Secretary and I had an urgent discussion about where to find money. Secondly, there was a meeting between my delegation and the Finance Minister’s delegation [where we talked] about the challenges Eskom faced,” said Gordhan.

READ | Eskom is hoping for R15bn Treasury support for diesel

DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia noted that “anyone with a quarter brain” could see that Eskom was in a crisis with no end in sight. Cachalia asked if the minister would invoke the National Security Act and the National Key Points Act to allow Eskom to repair freely.

Gordhan hit back, saying government interventions, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s energy plan and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), should be given a chance to make an impact.

Gordhan said: “Anyone with a quarter brain will realize by now that the facts have been presented to the nation in a very transparent way, that Eskom is in a dangerous state, that the government’s capture has caused immense damage, that we have a power shortage of 4 000 MW and until we provide that MW source through renewable energy and possibly through other mechanisms contemplated in the IRP we will continue to be in trouble as a nation and our plan is in the next 18 months or so we need to get out of this out of crisis.”

Gordhan said unreliable generation continued to hamper government efforts to stabilize the grid, along with poor maintenance, corruption and ongoing outages that have forced Eskom to use more diesel.

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