Eskom ‘has been the cornerstone’ of SA economy

Eskom has sent out a statement in which the flailing national power supplier calls itself “an organisation that has been the cornerstone” of the SA economy and prides itself in “95 years of powering the nation”.

The company says it aims to ensure that universal electricity access is reached in the country in two years’ time.

In 1994 only 36% of the country had access to electricity‚ states Eskom‚ with 12% being rural electrification.

There are now less than 300 000 un-electrified houses in Eskom’s area of supply‚ it says – excluding growth and informal settlements. Ninety percent of South Africans now have access to electricity‚ and 80% in rural areas have been electrified through the integrated national electrification programme.

The company‚ which often struggles to keep the lights on due to a litany of supply problems and mismanagement‚ says the last bit of their mission is the most complicated: “The majority of the electrification is now being implemented in more remote and deep rural areas‚ where the construction of the network infrastructure is challenging‚ on difficult terrain and therefore expensive.”

To date Eskom has electrified more than 5m households‚ it says‚ with plans to electrify 180 000 households per year for the next three years.

“Eskom is as much part of South Africa’s heritage as our power lines and power stations are part of the South African landscape. But our systems‚ processes‚ skills and expertise needed to run the grid are also part of a shared heritage‚” Eskom boss Phakamani Hadebe said.

“As an organisation that has been the cornerstone of South Africa’s economy‚ we continue to pride ourselves on our heritage of powering the nation. We are forever mindful that electricity is a key enabler – driving the economy‚ education‚ social cohesion and individual and collective aspirations. This is why we take the goal of achieving universal access so seriously‚” Hadebe said.

The CEO did not mention anything about how they intend to keep their power supply up or affordable. 

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