Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, confirmed in Parliament yesterday that Eskom would collaborate with private investors to fund its expansion programme.
This revelation comes just weeks after Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan urged state-owned entities to seek out funding arrangements with private entities in his 2016 Budget Speech.
A report on IOL says that Brown had emphasised that despite this there are currently no discussions with private entities in relation to investment in Eskom’s third coal-based power plan or as its more commonly known, Coal 3.
The Minister is reported as saying, “the issue of Coal 3 has to be processed by the Department of Energy, that will then be taken to cabinet.”
Eskom Group Executive for Generation, Matshela Koko reiterated Minister Brown’s sentiments saying, “We have gone through Medupi and Kusile, it will be naive or arrogant of Eskom to go to Coal 3 alone. We have to share the burden with the private [sector].”
While this may sound as if the utility may eventually be completely privatised, government has refrained from broaching the topic, instead saying that it will gladly discuss public-private partnerships in relation to projects being done by state-owned entities.
Earlier this month Eskom was denied a tariff increase of 8% on top of the already approved 8.6% increase it was granted last year. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) instead granted Eskom a tariff increase of 0.8% (we see what you did there NERSA) bringing the total increase to 9.4%.
Soon after the announcement Eskom Chief Executive Officer, Brian Molefe issued a statement saying that the utility would do its best to mitigate the threat of load shedding.
However, this statement became moot when earlier this week, Molefe announced that there would be no load shedding until the end of Winter.[Via – IOL] [Image – CC BY/2.0 Lollie-Pop]