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Eskom’s debt service costs have doubled in just a single year to R45bn, highlighting the perilous state of the power utility, which supplies about 90% of SA’s energy needs. The largest state-owned company, which has been cited as the single biggest risk to the SA economy due to its R350bn in state guarantees and the potential for power cuts to cripple industry, is financially and operationally in the worst state that it has ever been, analysts said. Its chair, Jabu Mabuza, said at its financial results presentation in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the utility is "locked in a permanent loss-making position" and was unsustainable in its current form. With debt service costs up 100% and expected to worsen, "this is about as bad as it gets", according to energy expert Chris Yelland. "The bottom line is it cannot go on like this." The company generated R26.6bn in cash from operations, far short of what it spent to service debt. Total debt jumped 14% to R419bn in the six months to end-Se...

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