https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-12-14-cyril-ramaphosa-calls-on-brian-dames-to-help-rescue-eskom-and-he-wants-a-plan-soon/President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed an eight-person Eskom Sustainability Task Team to advise government on actions to resolve the power utility's operational, structural and financial problems.
"This high-level task team consists of individuals with extensive electricity, management and economic expertise," the presidency said in a statement on Friday evening.
Ramaphosa has appointed former Eskom CEO Brian Dames and ex-Eskom chief financial officer Mick Davis to the task team, alongside Anton Eberhard, Tsakani Mthombeni, Sy Gourrah, Grové Steyn, Frans Baleni and Busisiwe Vilakazi.
"Appreciating the urgency of the matter," Ramaphosa has requested the task team to submit initial recommendations by the end of January 2019.
The task team is to:
• Assess the operational, structural and financial viability of Eskom, including key assumptions regarding the life of the plant, the effect and cost of environment commitments, and demand.
• Review the turnaround strategy submitted by the Eskom board. This will include a review of key assumptions, effect on tariffs and industry, and the viability of proposed solutions on the future role of Eskom.
• Assess the appropriateness of the current Eskom business model and structure.
• Present a view on the current energy trends and the evolution of the global energy context.
• Present a view on the role, positioning and structure of energy utilities and provide proposals.
• Propose alternative business and financial models appropriate for the South African context.
• Propose how the structure of the electricity industry in South Africa can adapt to changes in this sector, including the harnessing of new technologies.
• Make proposals to resolve the debt burden.
The task team is mandated to consult various roleplayers including labour and business.
"The assessments that will be carried out by the task team arise from government’s concern that the lack of adequate electricity has a negative impact on economic recovery and that there is a need for intervention in the short and medium term, to restore the supply-demand balance," said Ramaphosa's office.
"This is coupled with severe financial constraints at Eskom, which impact on the fiscus, and where operational and financial issues have become inter-related and need to be addressed simultaneously."
The president said Eskom's board and management team, as well as the department of public enterprises, will work with the task team.
Energy expert Chris Yelland commented via Twitter, saying: "A powerful task team indeed that gives some idea of the future direction for the restructuring of Eskom and the electricity supply industry."
My take on this -
If you look at who's been appointed as the Sustainability Task Team for Eskom's business rescue, its fairly obvious that they're going to recommend splitting generation and transmission.
They're also likely going to look at selling assets - Medupi or Kusile, likely to the Chinese in order for them to finish construction, and be given a guaranteed purchase order of generated electricity at IPP pricing.
This has been mooted a number of times already. May be the right time now, although not sure if even the Chinese will want to buy into generation, as Eskom simply doesn't have enough paying customers / demand.
They can't even service their debt currently.
We may even get suggestions that Soweto should start paying, but that's a political football the ANC is likely to avoid at all cost.
Meanwhile, the paying customers are leaving in droves and becoming self sufficient with solar and increasingly storage.