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In the early 2000s the telecommunications sector underwent a veritable revolution. For Africa in particular mobile phone penetration connected consumers far and wide at low cost, and bypassed the need for costly fixed-line infrastructure. It marked the end of public phone networks. Change was inevitable and SA’s own Telkom was pushed to adapt or die. A similar revolution is now taking place in the energy sector, and electric power utilities around the world are being forced to dig deep. Known globally as the utility death spiral, large monopolistic power utilities are struggling to contain rising costs as sales drop and revenue streams erode. Competition from independent power production — green energy, in particular — has propelled the spiral. Utilities worldwide are slowly embracing the inevitability of change. But Eskom, once a world-class power utility, is so occupied with tackling a financial crisis it is failing to change with the times. At its annual results presentation on M...

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