Eskom says it could take a year to end SA outages

STORY: South African government plans to end recurring power cuts could take at least a year to deliver results, a top executive at Eskom said on Monday (September 12).

The struggling state utility implemented extensive power cuts last week and is scheduled to do so again this week.

That's in addition to earlier blackouts - setting Africa's most industrialized economy on course for its worst year of electricity outages.

In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged new moves to tackle the crisis.

But Eskom Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer said that though they have various plans in place "this is going to take time to implement."

"For the next 12 months or so we may not see the required benefits," he said.

Speaking at a news briefing, Oberholzer also addressed the continuing deterioration of Eskom's ageing and unreliable fleet of coal-fired power stations.

He said 42 generating units, or almost 24,000 megawatts of capacity, tripped last week - with some units breaking down more than once.

Mid-way through its financial year, Eskom has spent 7.7 billion rand, or $451 million, on diesel to run emergency generators.

That's far in excess of the budgeted amount, Oberholzer said, calling it a serious concern.