Oracle threatens Eskom over R400m bill

By Roxanne Henderson for Bloomberg

Eskom Holdings has taken steps to protect its operations from disruptions after a contractual dispute with Oracle Corp.’s South African unit put its technical support services at risk.

The state power utility confirmed on Monday that it’s involved in the disagreement in which Oracle initially claimed Eskom underpaid it by about 7.3 billion rand ($500 million). While the amount was later reduced between the parties, Oracle rejected Eskom’s settlement offer of 166 million rand and threatened to terminate its services, the power utility said in an emailed statement.

Eskom has “assessed the risks in the event of Oracle withdrawing” its services and put interim processes in place “to reduce the risks of its operations being disrupted”, it said.

Eskom approached a South African court to compel Oracle to continue its technical support services until April 2022 but its application was dismissed last week, it said. It intends to seek leave to appeal.

Debt-laden Eskom is already under pressure from creditors and has struggled for years to provide reliable power, leading to disruptions that ripple through Africa’s most industrialised economy.

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