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Eskom expects to spend as much as R1bn more on diesel generators, which it plans to run as needed over the next four months as it moves to pull the power system back from the brink. The growing operational costs are particularly bad news for the utility, which is already in a debt trap as it spends more on debt servicing than it generates in revenues. It has applied to the National Energy Regulator of SA for an electricity tariff hike of 15% per year for the next three years. Briefing media on the state of the system on Friday morning, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe said between R750m and R1bn had been budgeted to run open-cycle gas turbines on diesel. The utility has spent R200m on diesel usage in the year to date, and said this week that although expensive, diesel generators were cheaper than load-shedding’s cost to the economy. Ten out of 15 coal-fired power stations are also experiencing supply shortages and stockpiles now face the added risk of getting wet from summer rains. The di...

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