Power “’ decision
on Eskom price
hikes by the end of
February
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 January 2010 – The mining industry is one of many watching with keen interest as Eskom seems no closer to finding an incumbent for its vacant CEO position, after saying it could not commit to an appointment at the beginning of February.

Asked by Fin24.com whether the power utility was on track to meet this deadline, spokesperson Sibusiso Duma was non-committal. "The process of appointing a new chief executive is in progress, and the Eskom board will make the official announcement once this has been finalised," he said in a brief reply.

February was the date mentioned by acting chairperson Mpho Makwana in November, after the resignation of Jacob Maroga. Makwana said the utility would find a replacement in 90 days, but the leadership vacuum at Eskom is continuing amid a crucial period for the utility.

Energy regulator Nersa’s public hearings on Eskom’s proposed 35% price increase over each of the next three years is due to start on Monday, following an announcement that it will make a ruling on the matter by the end of February. The mining industry is one of many that will be severely affected by such price hikes. The tariff boost also holds implications for the viability of independent power producers (IPPs).

The price increase granted holds major implications for Eskom’s R385billion expansion programme which it embarked on to meet rising demand. Eskom foresees a funding shortfall of at least R60billion, even if Nersa does approve the requested tariff hike.