So many questions: Phillip Dexter
Eskom has warned that SA could have more blackouts this year. Chris Barron asked CEO Brian Dames ...
Is there going to be load-shedding? We have resolved not to do load-shedding.
Business chambers and municipalities say they have been warned there will be load-shedding. We've planned no load-shedding. We do not have any load-shedding in our plans.
Why have you released a load-shedding schedule? We have a requirement to have the schedules available on our website, but we currently have no plans to do any of those things.
So no load-shedding, only blackouts? From our perspective we need customers to work with us.
And if they do, there will be no blackouts? If we get a 10% saving across our full customer base, we should have sufficient capacity to meet our demands and have our reserves.
What is the average margin at the moment between capacity and demand? About 3000MW. But this is not about meeting demand, it's about meeting demand and having at any one point in time an additional margin.
What should that margin be? At any point in time we would like to have 2000MW available.
And at the moment you have 3000MW available? That's right, that is the situation.
Are you still exporting? We are providing power to our neighbouring countries, yes.
How much? Just less than 1000 MW for our contracts outside the country, and then another 1000MW for the smelter in Mozambique.
So you are exporting 2000MW? And we're importing 1500MW.
If you cut exports, our margin would be a lot safer. So why haven't you? We have a contractual agreement to import and a contractual agreement to export. We cannot, as a country, live on the basis that we should be fine and others cannot be fine. But we are importing from Cahora Bassa.
The full 1500MW? Absolutely.
Haven't there been interruptions? Yes, and that is one of the risk factors in terms of the margin. Over the last few months we have seen an increase in the unreliability of that supply because of the age of the network and refurbishments that have not been done.
So we are exposed to these shortcomings? They have increased the risk since the middle of last year. That's why we've been making a call that we should save to be able to have a sufficient margin for such an event. This week it did happen and it took out the full 1500MW.
Given our vulnerability, should we not be cutting our exports? No. The 1000MW we're exporting for the smelter is an obligation. The rest of it goes to countries around us in small portions.
In the event of blackouts, would you cut back on your exports for the smelter? No. We have a contractual agreement and we have to adhere to it.
Don't you have a more important obligation to ensure security of supply in SA? Absolutely, we have an obligation to ensure that the lights stay on.
Surely that is a prior obligation? We have an obligation and we have been meeting that obligation. We're just warning customers and getting them to work with us to achieve savings.
Are you still providing special rates for any of your customers? We have 138 large customers and only one customer on a special pricing agreement. Those are the smelters and we are in the process of renegotiating that. Part of the pricing agreement allows us to interrupt their supply during our peak periods in the evening.
But that might not be enough to save us? No. What would be enough is if our customers reduced consumption by 10% .
The government wants a 7% growth rate, which means our businesses must be more productive. Many countries are producing the same GDP we do, using less energy. We need to incentivise our customers to create new, more energy-efficient business models.