Embattled Eskom’s Future In The Balance

While the recent bout of load shedding may not have come as a surprise to many disgruntled South Africans, the question on everyone’s mind now remains whether Eskom will follow in the footsteps of SAA and declare business rescue – if the situation at the embattled power utility is not stabilised.

This after Eskom on Thursday announced Stage 2 load shedding, which soon escalated to Stage 4 for the afternoon, and continued to plunge the country into darkness over the weekend.

The power utility blamed units that unexpectedly went offline as well as “wet coal” that was hard to handle as the reasons for the latest round of power cuts, which continue to cost the country millions.

Now economists say this will have an impact on the country’s GDP figures for the fourth quarter of the year, and that the more than R400 billion Eskom debt it owes, mainly to domestic creditors, may now prompt rating agencies to consider a further sovereign downgrade of the country.

Just last month Eskom had its debt downgraded from B3 to B2, putting the state-owned company at six levels below investment grade.