Low risk of load-shedding as Eskom gets loan to strengthen network

13 December 2018 - 16:42 By Ernest Mabuza
Eskom has received the first tranche of a R6.5bn multi-tranche loan facility from a French company. It will use the initial amount to improve transmission in the Northern Cape and Western Cape.
Eskom has received the first tranche of a R6.5bn multi-tranche loan facility from a French company. It will use the initial amount to improve transmission in the Northern Cape and Western Cape.
Image: Marianne Schwankhart

Eskom announced on Thursday that it has obtained a R1.5bn credit facility from the French development agency AFD to extend and strengthen its transmission networks between the Northern Cape and Western Cape.

The announcement came as Eskom announced that the risk of load-shedding would remain low until the middle of January next year.

Eskom said the loan from AFD constituted the first tranche of a R6.5bn multi-tranche loan facility signed between the two institutions in March 2017.

"The transmission system plays a pivotal role in the nationwide provision of electricity, as it delivers electricity from the power stations to distribution centres across South Africa," Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom said the first tranche would be dedicated to financing the Namaqualand strengthening phase 2: Juno Gromis project.

The project aims to strengthen the power network in the Northern Cape, integrate renewable energy sources, and ultimately facilitate cross-border transmission.

Eskom said the project would include the construction of a 282km 400kV line between the Juno substation in the Western Cape and Gromis substation in the Northern Cape, with associated feeder bays and transformer bays.

Construction is expected to start early next year.

The power utility said the loan facility from AFD aimed to support Eskom's investment policy in strengthening its high-voltage electricity network, in order to ensure the integration of planned or under-construction renewable energy sources.

It added that this was in line with its transmission development plan 2019-2028 investment of R91bn for the construction of 6,535km of high voltage lines, and the installation of 45,900MVA of additional transmission capacity.

"This multi-tranche loan facility will contribute to Eskom’s plans to strengthen and refurbish the transmission infrastructure while diversifying our funding structures," Eskom’s group chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe, said.

AFD’s regional director, Bruno Deprince, said its funding to Eskom reaffirmed its commitment to support the public utility’s efforts to diversify its energy mix, which would ultimately strengthen its capacity to respond to the growing energy needs of South Africa while addressing the climate change challenges attached to it.

“This funding also demonstrates our support to Eskom in a period of transition and recovery,” Deprince said.

Eskom also announced in a separate statement that load-shedding remained low from Thursday until January 13 next year.

“Eskom has not implemented load-shedding in four consecutive days. The probability of load-shedding remains low from today until Sunday January 13 2019,” Eskom said.

The power utility said this was as a result of the expected decrease in demand as business and industries closed down for the festive season.

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