Eskom’s debt below R400 billion amid funding talks, Gordhan says

South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd has reduced its debt to less than R400 billion ($28 billion) as discussions ensue to secure funding for a transition to renewable energy, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The state-owned company announced in May it had reduced debt by a fifth to about R401 billion.

“Eskom has done further work to reduce the debt to below R400 billion,” Gordhan said Wednesday by phone from the capital, Pretoria. “The exact number is still a work in progress,” he said, without providing more details.

Eskom hasn’t been producing enough electricity to meet the nation’s needs, resulting in intermittent power shortages. The utility isn’t generating enough cash to cover its operating expenses and interest bill, leaving it dependent on government bailouts to survive.

Chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter has taken measures to cuts costs and find green funding to reduce the company’s reliance on government support. That could be dependent on it retiring coal-fired power plants ahead of schedule.

“We have had quite a few discussions with quite a few interested parties, including many development finance institutions, who are prepared to provide concessional funding to Eskom” for a transition to clean energy, Gordhan said. “The ultimate solution will be to integrate all these solutions to enable a just energy transition.”

Read: Winter load shedding is here to stay: Eskom

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Eskom’s debt below R400 billion amid funding talks, Gordhan says