Eskom turns 95, says more than 100,000 new households on grid


JOHANNESBURG, March 1 – South African state power utility said on Thursday it was celebrating its 95 year anniversary with 100,380 households which had been connected to the national grid over the past six months.

Eskom, which provides about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, but has been dogged by cash constraints, said it hoped to achieve universal access to electricity by 2025, with the National Treasury allocating R17.3 billion to the utility and municipalities to electrify a further 640 000 households over the next three years.

“Turning 95 years is a great milestone for our organisation and a self-motivation as we maneuver through the liquidity and governance challenges that we are currently grappling with as the organisation,”  interim group chief executive  Phakamani Hadebe said.

“Together with the Board, we are busy formulating a strategic framework that will ensure that this institution survives another 100 years.”

Official data shows that more than 5 million households within Eskom’s licensed areas of supply have been electrified since 1990.  Over 90 percent of South Africans have access to electricity, with the majority of new customers now being electrified in more remote and deep rural areas.

Several Eskom executives have been implicated in allegations of corruption and mismanagement, and the Treasury said in its 2018 budget review last week the company’s financial position was now a major risk to the economy and public finances.

S&P Global said it was cutting its rating on Eskom further into junk, with a negative outlook on Wednesday, saying it anticipated pronounced pressure on Eskom’s fiscal 2019 financing plans.

– African News Agency (ANA)