Antoinette Slabbert
1 minute read
26 Mar 2014
7:30 am

Eskom HQ plans drawing flak

Antoinette Slabbert

Cash-strapped Eskom's ambitions to refurbish its old Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg while consumers battle bills and blackouts are powering ahead, with details of the utility's requirements emerging slowly.

Picture courtesy of

This comes as three government departments are trying to find money for Eskom to extend power purchase agreements with private producers to prevent a recurrence of this month’s load-shedding.

Eskom has also said it has overspent its budget by R8bn this year and will spend money it doesn’t have on programmes to encourage electricity savings.

Business estimates its shortfall for the year is R10bn. Eskom did not respond to Business’s questions about the project, and little information is available so far.

The tender documents reveal the project consists of eight work packages, namely “Blocks C&D, Building Management System, Cooling Plant, Diesel Generator, Energy Centre, Heating Plant, MV/LV Equipment, and UPS”.

Ethics expert, Professor Willem Landman, says Eskom’s bungling is hurting economic growth and job creation. Consumers and businesses are battling with high electricity costs, and expenditure should be limited to absolute necessities, he added.

The refurbishment of Megawatt Park could only be justified if the headquarters was in such a state that staff couldn’t do their jobs.

Mike Schüssler, chief economist at said that many small businesses had to relocate to more modest premises, due to high electricity costs and pressure on the economy.

“I would expect the same from Eskom.”

He added that Eskom should prioritise expenditure on efforts to ensure security of electricity supply, as the current tight system is placing a stranglehold on economic growth.