Eskom Latest: South Africa Exempts Shared-Energy Projects

South Africa granted energy users and suppliers a block exemption to foster collaboration between companies and institutions to address the nation’s energy crisis.

(Bloomberg) — South Africa granted energy users and suppliers a block exemption to foster collaboration between companies and institutions to address the nation’s energy crisis. 

The Energy Suppliers Block Exemption 2023, published by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on Thursday, will enable consumers and producers to “increase and optimize supply capacity, reduce the cost of energy or improve the efficiency of energy supply, and secure backup or alternative energy supply in order to minimize the effects of the current electricity supply constraints,” Minister Ebrahim Patel said in a statement.

The exemption will remain in effect until further notice, he said.

Hospitals to Be Exempted from Power Cuts (May 25, 12:10 p.m.)

South Africa’s government identified 213 hospitals that will be excluded from power cuts, the Ministry in the Presidency said in a statement detailing the outcome of a cabinet meeting on May 24.

Of that number, 76 health facilities are already excluded, and work is under way to add another 46 hospitals is at an “advanced stage,” the ministry said.  

Food Maker Installs Solar (May 24, 9:10 a.m.)

South African food producer RFG Holdings Ltd. will complete solar installations at seven of its production facilities over the next 18 months, accelerating its renewable energy program as the state-owned power utility struggles to meet demand for electricity.

The group is planning capital expenditure of 280 million rand ($14.6 million) for the 2023 financial year, including new generators and the replacement of existing ones in response to so-called loadshedding, according to its results report published on Wednesday. RFG spent 37.8 million rand on diesel for back-up power in the six months through April 2 and at current levels of blackouts its weekly average fuel cost is about 2 million rand, the company said.

RFG is among a growing number of businesses being forced to supply their own electricity as Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. implements daily blackouts. 

Read More: RFG Holdings 1H Net Income ZAR217.3m Vs. ZAR159.2m Y/y

Eskom to Announce New CEO Within Next Month (May 23, 5 p.m.)

Eskom is expected to appoint a new chief executive officer within the next month, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

“The process of identifying a group CEO is already underway and in the next month or so there should be some announcement in this regard,” Gordhan told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Eskom has been headed by acting CEO Calib Cassim since February. He took over from Andre de Ruyter, who left after alleging in a television interview that the utility is losing about 1 billion rand ($52 million) a month to corruption and theft, aided by people linked to the nation’s governing party.

Read More: South African Minister Gordhan Hits Back at Former Eskom CEO

Netcare’s Fuel Costs Surge (May 22, 9:45 a.m.)

South Africa’s largest private health-care network expects diesel costs to more than quadruple to 165 million rand this year as it runs generators to help contain the impact of rolling blackouts.

Generator diesel costs increased to 67 million rand in the six months through March from 10 million rand a year earlier because of the consistently high number of power cuts and increased fuel costs, Netcare Ltd. said in its earnings report on May 22.

The majority of Netcare’s acute-care hospitals have the capacity to operate independently of the grid, the company said. It has uninterrupted power supply systems and a fleet of 200 backup diesel generators support all of its facilities, while it’s invested in installing a solar power base across 72 sites, capable of generating 18 to 20 gigawatt hours per year.

Read More: Netcare 1H Net Income 618M Rand Vs. 415M Rand Y/y

–With assistance from Mpho Hlakudi and Paul Vecchiatto.

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