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Sunday, 07 July 2024 11:45

Eskom expected to report R15-billion full-year loss |Marokane.

By Rishabh Jaiswal and Lehlohonolo Lehana.

State owned power utility Eskom is set to publish figures showing a R15-billion annual loss, the Financial Times reported on Saturday (paywall).

The loss is largely due to Eskom spending R33-billion on buying diesel, which is burnt in open-cycle gas turbines to keep the lights on.

The utility, which recorded a full-year loss of R23.2-billion in the 2023 financial year, will release financial results for the year-to-March later this year, the publication said.

CEO Dan Marokane said that an end to electricity blackouts meant Eskom could be profitable next year.

"We saw record use of diesel last year, hence record losses," he said. "But we've really cut down on diesel, so we should see a substantial financial improvement this year. If we maintain our trajectory, there's no reason we shouldn't even see a profit."

Eskom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company said on 5 July that it had achieved 100 consecutive days without load shedding, adding that the last time South Africa had a period that long without load shedding was in late 2020.

Marokane said last month that Eskom's priority was bringing an end to the power blackouts that have devastated the economy.

Eskom has paused the blackouts in the past few months due to better maintenance of its coal fleet and power generation from 5GW of private solar installations.

Meanwhile energy and electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says work is at an advanced stage to procure 2,500 MW of nuclear energy.

Ramokgopa said that the nuclear plan aims to secure approval from the Treasury to build a 2,500MW power plant next month, with the team working on the deal finalising the procurement structure.

He said that internal conversations related to what type of nuclear technology should be considered, with the late technology seen as very rapid to deploy, relatively cheap and more efficient.

There are also considerations over who will operate the plant, but Ramokgopa said that Eskom will likely run the plan given its experience with Koeberg near Cape Town.

The minister said the department will have more information on the proposal by the end of August.

Ramokgopa initially revealed the intention to launch the procurement process in December 2023.

The determination was first signed off by the now unbundled Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and concurred with by Nersa in 2021. However, after Ramokgopa received new powers following an exchange between the relevant ministries, another layer of approvals was required.