Johannesburg - Power utility Eskom reported a nearly 60%
rise in full-year profit on Thursday owing to higher tariffs and said it would
meet power demand during the winter, despite tight supplies.
State-owned Eskom, which supplies 95% of South Africa’s
power, said profit in the year to end-March rose to R13.2bn from R8.4bn the
Cash-strapped Eskom has been struggling to raise the money
it needs to build plants to avoid a repeat of a crisis that forced mines to
shut for days in 2008 at a cost of billions of rands, but the utility has
since turned the corner.
“We have secured 78% of our R300bn funding programme over
the next five years and the rest will come through the roll-out of our bond
programme,” finance director Paul O'Flaherty said.
He said the utility would tap international markets when the
time was right, although there was nothing imminent for now.
Eskom has become more financially viable and has introduced
steep increases in power tariffs in recent years to move the rates to
It expects power supply to be tight over the next few years
until the first of new power plants comes on stream by the end of next year.
The utility will add nearly 12 000 MW to the grid by 2019, which should relieve
tight supplies in the world’s top maker of platinum and ferrochrome.
In case of a power deficit, the utility plans to use more
expensive open cycle gas turbines to avoid blackouts. Stockpiles of coal, which
feed more than 80% of its power plants, were at a healthy 39 days, it
During the winter season - from June
to August - power usage is at its highest. Peak demand during this winter
is forecast at just under 37 000 MW.
Eskom's primary energy costs rose to R46.3bn from R35.8bn
due to higher coal prices. Revenue increased to R114.8bn from R91.4bn.