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

  • Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said interventions in Eskom’s diesel needs would be announced in the coming days.
  • Eskom said last week that it had exceeded its diesel budget and had no money to buy new shares until April 1.
  • Gordhan said the government would update South Africa on the status of Eskom’s diesel challenge later on Wednesday.
  • For more financial stories, see News24 Business front page.

A plan to deal with Eskom’s diesel crisis will be announced in the coming days, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told parliament on Wednesday.

Eskom said last week that it had exceeded its diesel budget and had no money to buy new shares until April 1. Eskom’s two open gas turbine power plants, each of which can withstand one level of load shedding, are powered by diesel.

News24 reported earlier Wednesday that Eskom was in talks with the National Treasury to “find a mechanism through which to buy diesel” to minimize load shedding by the end of the fiscal year. Government sources said Eskom has requested R10 billion to fund diesel purchases and R5 billion for heating oil.

READ | Eskom is hoping for R15bn Treasury support for diesel

Briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations, Gordhan said the department would begin interventions for Eskom’s diesel supply for open-cycle gas turbines in the next few days.

“Eskom has used a lot of its allocated money, the Nersa [National Energy Regulator of SA] could be recouped in one way or another. We issued a statement on Sunday saying we will find the money and that we are still looking at these issues.

“We will hopefully get this process underway in the next few days – and I was hoping it would be much sooner. But we will have a statement later today that will provide information on the status and availability of diesel as it relates to open-cycle gas turbines,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan said oil prices have risen, posing a challenge for Eskom and the power grid. He said the country will be kept informed of Eskom’s diesel requirements and the funds needed to meet them.

“Given that the cost of crude oil and its derivatives such as diesel has been skyrocketing for some time, this also has serious implications for the cost factor. But we want to reduce the level of load shedding. We want predictability as far as load shedding is concerned,” said Gordhan.

READ | UPDATE | Extreme load shedding ahead as Eskom diesel budget runs low

Portia Derby, CEO of Transnet Group, told the committee that the R2.9 billion that the Fiscus company is seeking would help Transnet recover from the damage caused by the KwaZulu-Natal floods and improve the capacity to meet Eskom’s economy and commodity demand.

Derby said the national coal requirement is equivalent to 198 trains, but Transnet only has a capacity of 138 trains available. She added that Eskom’s Majuba coal-fired power plant has a requirement of 42 trains, but Transnet only has a capacity of 21 trains.

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