Joburg needs R26 billion for stable power — and it only has R1 billion

Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city, needs 26 billion rand ($1.6 billion) to stabilize power supply by 2030 as recurrent outages inhibit economic activity, Mayor Mpho Phalatse said.

South Africa has been hit by intermittent power cuts since 2008 because Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the state power utility, can’t meet demand. The country is on course to have a record number of outages this year.

Cape Town, the country’s second-largest city, is seeking proposals for the provision of 200 megawatts of power and may ultimately secure as much as 700 megawatts, city officials said in February. Durban, the third biggest, is seeking 400 megawatts.

The plan was presented by City Power, Johannesburg’s power distribution utility, Phalatse said at an energy conference on Monday.

The metropolis of about five million people has an annual budget of just 7.7 billion rand for all infrastructure and will need additional funding from private developers, she said.

“City Power only gets about 1 billion rand of that,” said Tshifularo Mashava, the acting chief executive officer of City Power, at the same event.

Phalatse laid out a vision that would see the construction of gas infrastructure and renewable energy plants ranging from solar to biomass.

“In 2020 the volume of electricity produced by Eskom fell below the level that was produced in 2004,” she said. “This has a devastating impact on our plans as a city because without cost-effective and reliable power our city economy is unable to reach its full potential.”

Now read: Eskom announces evening load-shedding throughout this week

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Joburg needs R26 billion for stable power — and it only has R1 billion