Eskom's income has shrunk by about R2.5-billion in April as energy demand plummeted due to the country's national lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the power utility's CEO Andre de Ruyter said on Wednesday.
"We have seen a reduction in cash-generation for April of some R2.5-billion. The full financial impact will still need to be assessed," De Ruyter told a virtual meeting of Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises.
He said the power utility's "reliability" maintenance programme has been hampered by the restrictions imposed by the health crisis in that foreign experts could not travel to South Africa as required.
This has delayed scheduled maintenance work on the Koeberg nuclear plant, for example, as the international travel ban prevented French technical experts and officials from the Vienna-based International Energy Agency from flying to Cape Town.
De Ruyter said Eskom engineers had, however, in other respects been able to chip away at the utility's maintenance backlog and this could mean that the company's buffer of available capacity could be 2,000 megawatt bigger by the end of the year.
The overall increase in capacity could be around 2,900 as a result of continued lower demand from certain quarters.
It would also mean that the need for loadshedding in the near future would be greatly reduced, he said.
De Ruyter suggested that the forecast for the total number of hours of loadshedding required for the next quarter had shrunk from 31 to three days thanks to the maintenance gains.