After a rough week for Eskom and by extension, the country, the power provider finally has some good news. PetroSA, a state-owned oil company, has offered 50 million litres of diesel to the power utility, available immediately. Eskom announced its inability to purchase more diesel last week, which led to its Ankerlig and Gourikwa power stations hitting the off switch on their open-cycle gas turbines.
If you’re thinking “50 million litres is probably enough to last Eskom ages, right? Right?” Nope. At its current burn rate, the much-needed lifeline is set to only last around two weeks at most. Yikes.
No half measures
“The department itself has been liaising between Eskom and PetroSA to find a way within the limited resources Eskom has, to find immediate availability of diesel to Eskom. By this morning, 50 million litres of diesel have been provided by PetroSA,” said Gordhan.
This is very clearly a temporary solution. No official plan has yet been discussed with the public, though Pravin Gordhan has said a more permanent solution should be announced over the coming week. A plan has allegedly been discussed between Gordhan and finance minister Enoch Godongwana, though it’s still awaiting evaluation from the National Treasury. Once it has approval, the plan can move forward straight away.
“We have taken steps to find funding. Firstly, as a matter of urgency, the Minister of Finance and myself talked on Sunday evening about where money could be found. Secondly, there was a meeting between my delegation and the Minister of Finance’s delegation [where we spoke] about the challenges Eskom faced,” Gordhan said.
The two-week saving grace holds the same weight for Gordhan too. He and the Department of Public Enterprises have two weeks to think up a solution and implement it. If that’ll actually happen… we can’t say. What we can say is that if a problem doesn’t come soon, Eskom and again, the country, could be in big trouble.