De Ruyter tells SA we will need to swallow the bitter load shedding pill for now

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De Ruyter tells SA we will need to swallow the bitter load shedding pill for now

New Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: Moneyweb

He said it was very important to convey that Eskom management was pained by their decision on load shedding, but it’s the only way to do the required maintenance.

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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, while speaking against the backdrop of stage 2 load shedding today, told South Africans to prepare for load shedding being the new normal.

This would be necessary to finally implement maintenance to fix the grid and get to a point when load shedding will no longer be caused by constant breakdowns.

There were also a number of other challenges faced by the power utility, with one of those being a crisis of trust, De Ruyter told reporters at Eskom’s quarterly status report briefing of its 2019 financial results at Megawatt Park on Friday morning.

“In order to achieve a trust relationship with our stakeholders, we want to address five primary objectives.

“Improving our income statement, addressing our balance sheet, addressing corruption, carrying out organisational restructuring, and achieving operational stability.

He said it was very important to convey that Eskom management was pained by their decision on load shedding.

“It is very regrettable to have to do this to South Africans.”

Admitting that there was an urgent need to look at finances, he highlighted that over the medium term there would be increased load shedding due to the amount of maintenance the utility had to do.

“We neglected in the past to have scheduled maintenance; we will have to do routine maintenance in order to develop a fully fledged plan to buy electricity.

Part of the plan to avoid load shedding was to buy electricity from other entities that had excess electricity.

Eskom will be unbundled into three divisions.

“Once that is done, we will start running the three division-like businesses with full accountability, which will put management in a far better position to get our arms around Eskom in ensuring there’s accountability.

“There are risks involved. We are hitting the accelerator but will ensure we manage the risks appropriately. The process will be accelerated” and there were no brakes, he stressed.

De Ruyter stressed that the challenges at the power utility required full participation from all stakeholders and apologised to the country for the inconvenience caused by load shedding, which demonstrated the depth of the crisis.

A comprehensive plan has been developed and was taken to the board this week.

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