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South African Surveying and Geomatics Indaba 2013 at Emperors Palace from 23 to 24 July 2013 in Kempton Park, Gauteng #SAGI http://ow.ly/lHBeN

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EE Publishers – Smart metering for Africa? http://ow.ly/kwclK

EE Publishers – Nothing but hot air http://ow.ly/kwF7D

EE Publishers – The geospatial professions: where to from here – Mozilla Firefox http://ow.ly/fS6Cl

EE Publishers – Asset location navigation on a small budget – Mozilla Firefox http://ow.ly/fS5E0

Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International and WBF – The Organisation for Production Technology, have announced their definitive agreement to merge the two organisations. Agreed by both boards of directors, this announcement was made at the Automation Technology in Process Manufacturing Conference in Texas, USA. Commenting on the merger, WBF chairman Bill Wray said, “Our mission at WBF is to support the process automation and operations needs of the technical and management professions in process manufacturing… (more)

EE Publishers – New training centre for Vaal University of Technology http://ow.ly/7gsAY

by Dr. Adrian Tiplady, Square Kilometre Array South Africa
 
South Africa, along with eight African partner countries (Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya and Ghana) stands on the cusp of astronomical greatness. In a little over twelve months, an international selection panel will select the host country of what I like to refer to as the last great (radio) astronomical adventure on earth: the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). I could extoll ad nauseum on the virtues and potential benefits of this R15-billion marvel of science and technology. But suffice to say, we have a very real chance of winning the bid, and when it is built, much of it will be using home-grown, cutting-edge technology… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Publishers
 
Following the public announcement of Eskom’s interim results for the financial year ending 31 March 2010, EE Publishers managing director Chris Yelland posed a number of questions to Paul O’Flaherty, Eskom’s new finance director, on 9 June 2010. The questions are given below.

Click here for the answers from Paul O’Flaherty.

  1. Is there any specific reason why this year Eskom’s annual financial report was not published and available at the announcement of the annual financial results last week? When will it be available?
  2. With the Eskom financial year-end being 31 March 2010, should the income statement not reflect the financial year ending 31 March 2010, with the balance sheet as on 31 March 2010? In which case, why is the revised Mozal special pricing arrangement, which was only announced two weeks ago and is still subject to regulatory approval, being reported and factored in for the year ending 31 March 2010?
  3. What is the revised pricing arrangement with Mozal? Are they on a published tariff like other “normal” energy intensive customers? What average price per kWh is Mozal now paying, and how does this compare with other energy-intensive South African customers, and with the other special pricing deal customers (Hillside, Bayside and Scorpion Zinc). What justification is there for keeping all this a secret?
  4. About two years ago, Eskom was about to place orders for Nuclear 1 and 2. But the decision was deferred. Then about a year ago, Eskom was saying it needed an imminent decision on Coal 3. But then in late 2009, Eskom indicated that it will not be building Coal 3, Nuclear 1 and Nuclear 2, and these would have to be done by others. When do you think “others” will pick up this ball, and is another capacity crisis looming if this is not done now?
  5. Has the placement of new contracts for the construction of Kusile restarted since this was stopped in December 2008, or is this still awaiting a funding plan e.g. finding a private equity partner for Kusile?
  6. How long is it likely to take to find an equity partner for Kusile and close the deal, or to make another funding plan for Kusile? Six months? A year?
  7. You mentioned eighteen months (minimum) to close the deal on funding for Kusile! Does this mean we could be faced with a further eighteen month delay in the construction of Kusile?
  8. Can you give any details on this alternative or interim funding solution, or is this not open for discussion yet?
  9. How have the current and possible further delays in placing contracts at Kusile impacted on the overall cost and delivery time of Kusile? Have the additional costs due to the delays in Kusile e.g. cost of finance during construction, cost price escalation and exchange rate risks, been factored in to the current price tag yet?
  10. What is the latest revised cost for Kusile and what would be the cancellation costs? I have heard a revised price tag of R175-billion mentioned, with a figure R21-billion for cancellation. Is this correct? Is the cancellation of Kusile a possible least-cost outcome of IRP 2, or is Kusile to be taken as a given? Could Kusile be replaced with say three or four smaller base-load coal-fired stations from IPPs with lower costs, shorter lead times and lower risks for Eskom, the government and the country? I am asking if the cancellation of Kusile is still an option?
  11. Which contractor(s) are overall responsible for the commissioning of Medupi, or is Eskom taking on this risk and liability? Is the Medupi price tag still R124-billion excluding flue-gas desulphurisation? And is the first unit at Medupi still scheduled for April 2012?

Click here for the answers from Paul O’Flaherty.

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
 
On 16 April 2010, Fin24 sent out a report that may have startled some, and sent shudders through ideological die-hards within the Tripartite Alliance.
 
The article was apparently based on discussions with Eskom’s new finance director, Paul O’Flaherty, and human resources director, Bhabhalazi Bulunga. It stated that “Eskom is planning a major restructuring, which could involve a partial privatisation and a major shake-up of its labour force”, and that “the company may be split up, and certain of its assets privatised, in a similar fashion to that of arms utility Denel”.
 
The very same day, this was promptly and vehemently denied in a press release from Eskom’s media desk, in which O’Flaherty is quoted as saying that “Eskom is looking at standardising and streamlining its systems and processes across the business. We have had no discussions about reducing our workforce and have not made any changes to our labour policies”. The press release stated categorically that Eskom has no plans of restructuring as outlined in the Fin24 article.
 
Two apparently contradictory reports? Let’s take a closer look at the three pillars of Eskom’s business – generation, transmission and distribution – to try and understand what’s actually going on here… (more)

South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya plan to launch a constellation of earth observation satellites; SumbandilaSat commissioning on schedule; a fourth satellite for SA; sunspots are back; new SA Space Agency appointment, and Voyager solves interstellar mystery… (more)

Eskom is to announce a new rebate level for solar water heaters tomorrow. According to Cedric Worthman, Eskom DSM, the subsidy formula has been changed to facilitate a payback period of five years, taking average costs into account… (more)

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