Eskom moves deadline for release of its long-term recovery plan

Eskom chairman, Jabu Mabuza.

The initial deadline for the completion of Eskom’s long-term strategy recovery plan will not be achievable according to a statement released by the power parastatal.

Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza said this was largely due to the delay in the appointment of a permanent group chief executive, protracted labour negotiations and the timing of the announcement of the Integrated Resource Plan which is one of the key elements to inform the state-owned enterprise’s strategy.

He said that the board, management and shareholders had agreed that the nature and magnitude of developing a well thought out and stress-tested strategy warranted a slight delay to ensure all key factors were considered and proper coordination between all entities was guaranteed.

“Eskom’s board and management team are cognisant of the impact that Eskom has on the country. It is, therefore, imperative that Eskom engages with key external stakeholders to ensure that an effective strategy is developed and executed,” added Mabuza.

“To mitigate risks and further delays we have established a board strategy committee that will meet frequently over the next few weeks to ensure continuous board oversight and timeous execution.”

The board has approved the move of the submission date of the strategy plan from the end of September to 15 November.

It will include portfolio recommendations, high-level Eskom operating model configuration and a high-level financial plan.

Energy analyst Roger Lilley told FTW Online that what was concerning about the delay was that the country and foreign investors still had no idea how Eskom planned to get itself out of the current predicament it was in. He noted that the utility was virtually broke.

“How can South Africans and foreign investors be confident that the utility remains viable when we don’t know how it plans to address the issues it faces. That’s the real issue here,” he said.

Lilley added that the reasons for the delay weren’t really known past the ones given within the parastatal’s statement and it was very possible that there might be more reasons for the delay that Eskom was not prepared to share as the enterprise liked to keep its cards tight to its chest.

However, he pointed out that this was only speculation.

He noted that his personal concern lay in comments passed during a meeting earlier in July this year which spelt out some targets that Eskom would achieve without any explanation as to how it would do so.

“It’s like a father exclaiming that the family would be going on holiday to Durban without saying when, how and where the family would be staying,” he added.

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