South Africa appointed Brian Dames to head state utility Eskom Holdings Ltd., filling an eight- month leadership void as the company struggles to resolve a funding crisis that threatens to cut power to homes and mines.
South Africa’s main electricity provider is running out of capacity and now needs to find 191 billion rand ($19 billion) to fill a funding gap to avert a repeat of blackouts that closed mines and factories in 2008.
Eskom Holdings Ltd. is encouraged by the demand for its $1.75 billion bond sale, the first dollar- denominated notes sold by the South African power utility, and will take the success “forward” as it assesses future funding, Chief Executive Officer Brian Dames said.
Eskom Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s state power utility, said it plans to raise “significant” funds from the debt markets early next year to help fund a 190 billion-rand ($27 billion) gap in its expansion plans.
Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., supplier of 95 percent of South Africa’s power, said it has begun scaling back coal purchases as it takes plants offline for maintenance during the summer months when electricity demand wanes.
Electricity supplies in South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, will become more constrained during the next two months, resulting in a possible shortfall of as much as 2,000 megawatts in March, the state-owned power utility said.
South Africa’s state power company was “let down” by contractors including Alstom SA and Hitachi Power Africa, whose errors helped delay the startup of Africa’s biggest power plant for more than two years, according to the utility’s former finance director, Paul O’Flaherty.