An apt analogy. In aviation circles, a graveyard spiral is a dangerous spiral dive entered into accidentally by a pilot who is not trained or not proficient in instrument flight when flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). There are pilots who intentionally undertake this maneuver but have the practiced skills in recovering the dive once they have executed it, but then Eskom does not classify as ‘accidental’ does it.

What we have here, is an unskilled pilot with low EQ, questionable IQ and a complete lack of integrity, deliberately throwing the plane into a graveyard spiral, hoping that blind luck and chaos management will save the day. Thabo Mbeki needs to accept responsibility for delaying the Eskom matter when he was president and was clearly told on a few occasions that Eskom needed to grow it’s generation capacity as far back as 2007. Mbeki’s decision was to do nothing, and hence the start of the Eskom debacle.

Their are cabinets full of articles and paraphernalia relating to who did what and for whom at Eskom. So here is something a little different, problems (of which there are many), some commentary, and an easy enough solution:

Eskom’s problems are numerous;

They cannot collect enough money from consumers to service the interest on their debt, never mind day-to-day operational costs. Simply, their expenditure grossly outpaces their income.

Their PAYING customer base is diminishing daily as businesses and residences shift across to solar/pv systems which are now much cheaper per kWh and much more reliable, these hybrid systems use Eskom as a last resort to top-up their batteries in the event of rainy days when solar is having one of its few negative sides in effect.

This leaves a much larger portion of non-paying customers growing on a daily basis, which again cannot be sustained, unless the government tries more bailouts at the expense of an already over-taxed and reluctant tax payer. As the economy shrinks further (as we cannot generate the required electricity) the tax base also shrinks, meaning there is less money to pay for Eskom’s ongoing problems.

The labour unions led by generously compensated union ‘leaders’ who may strike in solidarity with their comrades, but are in no rush to join the ‘no work no pay’ solidarity movement with those same workers who are striking. You now have an inflated workforce that cannot be down sized due to unions with absolutely no knowledge of how basic economics means that if radical steps are not taken, there will be no Eskom, and NO JOBS. Counter-productive but drawing pictures for them would have no impact whatsoever.

The existing infrastructure has been neglected for two decades, to rectify this will take between 5 and 7 years conservatively, if energy expert Ted Blom is to be believed (so far, he has been a safe bet).

This problem list is quite numerous but maybe there are some simple solutions to help us on the way.

  1. Change the legislation so that consumers who now generate electricity can push their excess electricity back in to an already existing grid.
  2. pay them for it and re-sell it on to customers who will pay an additional surcharge for that electricity (it should not come anywhere close to R2,25)
  3. Eskom’s need for generation becomes more negligible as more solar systems connect to the grid, generation is now in the hands of the citizens.
  4. Cable theft then has a much more limited effect as networks are receiving power locally rather than via numerous sub-stations

there are a few more pros to this future electrical grid ‘by the people, for the people’. Taking a step back, is there a future for Eskom! PV, wind and battery storage is getting cheaper by the day and is much more sustainable versus the white elephant that is Eskom, pushing coal plants, draining the fiscus and causing general anarchy. Do you really want to rely on an SOE that has a proven track record dating back 20 years, take the escape pod that is not available to most graveyard spirals and invest in yourself, your business and your family.

Eskom created “fake” load-shedding to sign R14.5-trillion in coal contracts

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