Eskom's funding plan to 2017 has been finalised and the electricity generation group will spend R201.6 billion over the period with R65 billion budgeted for this year, says Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Presenting his budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Gigaba said that government had approved the increase of Eskom's domestic borrowing programme from R65 billion to R100 billion to fund the approved build programme.

During the 2011/12 financial year, Eskom was able to secure a total of $615 million funding for its Renewables Energy programmes from the African Development Bank, the Clean Technology Fund and the World Bank.

In the current financial year, 260 MW was to be added to the electricity transmission system with another 894MW added in 2013 when the first unit of the Medupi power station comes on line.

Gigaba said that 915 kilometres of the transmission network from that power station would be installed next year.

He warned that electricity supply constraints would continue until Medupi became operational.

“In the midst of the constraints we have been experiencing, I am delighted to announce that Eskom will in June this year conduct a pressure testing exercise on the first boiler at Medupi which will be a key milestone of the process to ensure delivery of the unit by 2013,” Gigaba said.

He also said that a strategy had been approved to keep the lights on which consisted of voluntary energy conservation schemes involving Eskom's big customers; short-term power buy-back programme to secure more than 1,000MW of power savings; and the energy savings pledge signed by all state-owned companies' in his portfolio.

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