In light of recent concerns, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa stood his ground on the whopping R9 billion expense allocated towards diesel consumption. This, he explained, was crucial to ensure uninterrupted power amidst load shedding sessions.
Burning Diesel, But Still Within Limits
According to Ramokgopa, the cost might be monumental but remains under budget. The drive to curtail load shedding this winter relies on bettering energy availability and collaborative efforts with industries and consumers to dial down electricity consumption. He clarified, “We remain within budget. We are R600 million less than what we planned to spend.”
During his weekly media interaction, he emphasized, “What we are sharing with you is nothing outside of what we had promised… We did say that at the time it is going to come at great cost to the fiscus.”
Eskom’s Word on the Matter
Eskom’s chief of generation, Bheki Nxumalo, threw in his two cents. According to him, while the initial plan for the quarter was to spend R9.7 billion, the actual expenditure was a tad lower at R9.2 billion (May to end of June). His vision? To bolster the energy availability factor, thereby curtailing diesel consumption.
Presidency’s Rudi Dicks mentioned that the month of May saw diesel consumption worth R4.5 billion. “May was a significantly difficult month for us as many units tripped and failed and the burnt rate was quite high,” Dicks added. Yet, he remains confident about staying on budget for diesel expenses through July’s end.
The Question of Eskom’s Unbundling
On being quizzed about Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s letter to Eskom concerning the sale of its distribution business, Dicks elaborated on the Cabinet’s decision to unbundle Eskom as a prolonged strategy.
He stated, “The first element was to set up a subsidiary as part of that process of transmission. That process is nearing its completion.” He further added that while one operational license for the National Transmission Company of South Africa was already acquired, two more awaited approval.
Revealing more about the Eskom revamp, Dicks said, “It is bundling to allow greater private participation in generation,” stressing the state ownership of the National Transmission Company.
Monde Bala of Eskom’s distribution group reiterated Dicks’ points, referencing a roadmap introduced in 2019, detailing Eskom’s distribution unbundling.