Gloomy Outlook from Eskom, Warning of Daily Power Cuts

ZA Confidential attended the latest Eskom media briefing by CEO Tshediso Matona, to see how the utility is planning to deal with the continuing power crisis in ZA.  The message is a depressing one. Power cuts are going to be a way of life in the coming days,  Matona himself lacks confidence, and the message is crystal clear that the politicians – ANC ones and not apartheid ones – are to blame for the current stuff up.  A few of the high (low) lights……

Eskom is likely to need to load-Tshed on most days in the near future.

Maintenance, or lack of it, is the key to the problem. The CEO said maintenance is like a religion for the company, but Eskom has not stayed faithful to that maintenance religion for a long time, and the unreliability of equipment is the price it is paying.  It is embarrassed by this.  Shame.  No wonder a certain Eskom boss is called The Prince of Darkness.

Eskom has kept the lights on in recent years by deferring maintenance and using diesel.  This was clearly against the advice of its senior management which appears to have been too cowardly or too in love with their fat salaries to say no when the politicians ordered reckless practices.  The World Cup period was a classic instance, when our country’s leaders seem to have been more interested in fun football than in reliable power supply in the future.   We are all now being bitten in the balls as a result.

It is only by burning expensive diesel that the problem is being prevented from becoming much worse, and the message from Eskom bosses today was that there isn’t the cash to pay for that diesel, with a R3bn bailout already being needed.

Eskom is in an appalling financial mess and this will only be eased with more bail outs from the taxpayer or price hikes for the consumer – or both.

Matona was challenged over President Zuma’s insistence that Eskom’s problems can be blamed on apartheid.  He failed to give any meaningful worthwhile answer to this, and took several minutes of waffle to not respond meaningfully.

There will be more delays in bringing new capacity on line.

Conclusion

Eskom is mumbling, stumbling and bumbling along. Journalists arrived for the briefing, and there were lots of cups, but no tea or coffee. However, there was a man putting a teaspoon on every unused cup and saucer as self-important Eskom types paced around.   Then the event kicked off 15 minutes late. Apparently the Deputy President had been in the building and his hosts were too deferentuial to kick him out so they could start briefing the media when they had said they would.

Tweets of the Day

Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow): Why did the raisin go out with the prune? It couldn’t get a date. #ClassicJokeFriday

The Dowager Countess (@theLadyGrantham):   There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test. #DowntonPBS

PUNS (@omgthatspunny): Velcro, what a rip-off

Male Thoughts (@SteveStfler): I wrote a song about a tortilla; actually it’s more of a wrap

——

In response to the growing support for the Die Vine Intervention wine tasting podcasts I conduct with the legendary Michael Olivier, ZA Confidential is expanding its coverage to include more writing about food, wine and lifestyle issues.    We will continue to comment on business, but will do less day-to-day writing on routine matters, concentrating on the big stuff.

ZA Confidential is a subscription newsletter.   For subscription details, invitations to us for grown-up events, or any other communication, please contact:   zaconfidential@gmail.com     Follow us on twitter: @zaconfidential


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