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Eskom out of cash, announces Stage 5 loadshedding

ESKOM stage 6 power failure on the way

Eskom announced on Sunday that it is out of cash to purchase diesel and will not order more until 1 April 2023.

The result of this will be record numbers of power failures, or load shedding as is popularly known, News24 reports.

Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s chief operating officer, stated last week at a state of the system briefing that since 1 April, Eskom has spent R12 billion on diesel vs an initial budget of R6.1 billion. This was revised to R11.1 billion later on.

“If we continue to consume diesel as we have done for the last seven months, the expense will be exorbitant. However, we have no cash on hand.

As South Africa begins Stage 4 load shedding this week, the repercussions of Oberholzer’s remark are starting to sink in.

In the past, Eskom has significantly exceeded its diesel budget, claiming that the R500 million per day per phase cost to the economy is higher than the price of purchasing diesel.

However, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has denied Eskom’s request to fully recover its diesel costs from customers, making the argument that a more effective and prudent operation would not need to resort to such excesses.

Eskom supplied a numerical estimate of load shedding over the next ten months at the briefing last week. The forecast indicated that until August 2023, South Africa would undergo stage 3 load shedding on the majority of monthly days, provided diesel was consumed to make up the shortfall.

The diesel needed to maintain the system at Stage 3 ranged between R3 billion and R7 billion per month.

As it is physically and logistically inconceivable to burn this quantity of diesel, it was implied that load shedding would actually exceed stage 4.

Eskom says three units at Kusile Power Station are currently offline and will stay offline for a few months while repairs are made. As the fuel is used up before the refueling and maintenance outage that is expected to start in December 2022, Unit 1 of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station will continue to generate at a reduced output over the next three weeks.

READ MORE: Godongwana: Eskom to be divided into three entities

A generating unit has been offline for maintenance at each of the power plants in Arnot, Grootvlei, and Majuba since Sunday morning as means South Africa is in store for more power failure.

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