Breaking down Eskom 2023 annual returns: Here’s what you must know
The utility’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) worsened to 56.03%, a decrease from 62.02% in 2022.
One of the major contributors to this decline was the increase in days of loadshedding, which totalled 280 days in 2023 compared to 65 days in the previous year, despite extensive usage of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT).
Emissions performance showed significant deterioration, and the transmission network’s reliability also declined.
On a positive note, Eskom commissioned Kusile Unit 4 as part of its new build program. However, the company recorded four employee and contractor fatalities, albeit a decrease from six in 2022. The lost-time injury rate slightly increased to 0.26 from 0.24 in the previous year.
Headcount was reduced by 820, down from 2,328 in 2022, and 523 youth employment services learners were appointed.
Despite a tariff increase of 9.61%, the utility’s financial woes deepened with net losses escalating from R11.9 billion in 2022 to R23.9 billion in 2023.
Committed funding secured amounted to R59.9 billion, an increase from R35.8 billion in 2022. Arrear municipal debt also escalated to R58.5 billion, up from R44.8 billion the previous year.
Bleeding power utility scores R254 billion government debt relief
The utility announced R254 billion in government debt relief and underwent significant leadership changes, including appointing a new board.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, Eskom plans to focus on several areas to turn the company around. These include operational recovery through a Generation Recovery Plan and investment in networks to support capacity expansion.
The debt relief will facilitate financial sustainability and liquidity, provided compliance with debt relief conditions.
Eskom also aims to improve leadership stability by appointing a permanent Group Chief Executive and filling other executive vacancies.
Measures to strengthen the control environment and address crime, fraud, and corruption are also in the pipeline, requiring support from law enforcement agencies.