South African utility Eskom facing annual loss of $823 million, FT reports

(Reuters) – South Africa’s state power company Eskom is set to publish figures showing a 15 billion rand ($823 million) annual loss, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

The loss is largely due to Eskom spending 33 billion rand on buying diesel which is burnt in open-cycle gas turbines to keep the lights on, the report said.

The utility, which recorded a full-year loss of 23.2 billion rand in 2023, will release financial results for the year-to-March later this year, the FT said.

Chief executive Dan Marokane told the newspaper that an end to electricity blackouts meant Eskom could be profitable next year.

“We saw record use of diesel last year, hence record losses,” he said. “But we’ve really cut down on diesel, so we should see a substantial financial improvement this year. If we maintain our trajectory, there’s no reason we shouldn’t even see a profit.”

Eskom did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The company said on July 5 that it had achieved 100 consecutive days without loadshedding, adding that the last time South Africa had a period without load shedding was in late 2020.

Marokane said last month that Eskom’s priority was bringing an end to the power blackouts that have devastated the economy of Africa’s most industrialised nation over the past few years.

Eskom has paused the blackouts in the past few months due to better maintenance of its coal fleet and power generation from 5 gigawatts of private solar installations.

($1 = 18.2269 rand)

(Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)


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