Eskom's rise and fall from 1922 to 2019: From profits to load shedding

Eskom's rise and fall from 1922 to 2019: From profits to load shedding

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According to reports, ESKOM is struggling under the weight of R430 billion in debt, with many concerned that the power utility will not last until April without a major cash flow injection.

However, ESKOM was not always a struggling parastatal. For many years, in fact, it was one of the country's most efficient state-owned enterprises.

Here's a look back at the almost 100 year history of ESKOM.

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ESKOM was founded in 1922, after an act of Parliament was pased unifying several electricity-generating companies, according to fin24.

Until the 1940s, it was a relatively small enterprise, with the entire national grid consisted of less than 1000 megawatts. During the current round of load shedding alone, 4000 megawatts are shed. 

ESKOM undertook a transformation in the 1980s and became more corporate in structure. It also established its first nuclear power stations. By this time, its total generating capacity was over 30 000 megawatts.

In the 1990s, following the transition to democracy, ESKOM began a major project to provide electricity to thousands of homes, particularly in rural areas, that had previously lacked access to it.

This was largely a success, and saw many more South Africans plugged into the national grid.

ESKOM would continue to thrive into the early 2000s, when mismanagement and allegations of corruption began to saddle the utility with debt.

Since 2007, the utility has been plagued by breakdowns, load shedding and a loss of investor confidence.

READ ALSO: Social media calls for Soweto power to be cut until bill paid

This, alongside looting at the power provider and the supposed failure of 6 generating units, has ultimately resulted in the current situation ESKOM faces.

Stage 4 load shedding is being implemented throughout the country, with fears that ESKOM might not survive until the May 8 elections.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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