South Africans likely to spend the December holidays in the dark after Eskom depletes its diesel budget

Issued by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP – DA Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises
01 Dec 2023 in News

After the DA raised the alarm on Thursday on the possibility that the heightened levels of load-shedding that the country is currently experiencing coincide or correspond with the decline in the use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) by Eskom, Eskom has now confirmed that it has depleted its diesel budget. As Eskom’s aged coal-fired power stations struggle to generate enough power to meet the demand, the decline in OCGT use, by Eskom, means that South Africans will continue to experience heightened levels of load-shedding right into the December holidays.

Reports indicate that Eskom is left with just R3.6 billion for the procurement of diesel to power its OCGTs. This amount is just enough to power Eskom’s OCGT fleet for a month. The attempt by Eskom to minimise OCGT use, as evidenced by the progressive decline from 14 OCGTs on the 22nd of November to zero on 29 November, is already a little too late. As such, the risk of a semi-permanent stage 6 load-shedding in the next few months, before the end of Eskom’s financial year in March 2024, is now very high.

With Treasury having long confirmed that it will not provide any additional funding to Eskom for the procurement of diesel, the DA immediately calls on Eskom to clarity how it will fund the procurement of additional diesel to power its OCGTs until the end of the financial year in March 2024.

It is our considered view that Eskom will have to dig deep into its coffers and reprioritise spending from its current budget to replenish its already depleted diesel stocks. Eskom has failed to address the load-shedding crisis and as such, it should shoulder the burden of lessening its impact, from its own balance sheet.

It is simply unacceptable that Cabinet Ministers and Eskom officials have spent the last couple of months misleading South Africans that the country had turned a corner on load-shedding when they knew very well that Eskom was busy burning diesel in copious and profuse amounts. The burning of diesel was never intended to be a long-term solution to ending the load-shedding crisis.

If South Africans are to celebrate the festive season and possibly the new year in the dark and in the midst of heightened levels of load shedding, then they deserve to know the truth about why this is really happening.

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