(Bloomberg) -- Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Dan Marokane, whose term started during a streak without power cuts that’ve crimped South Africa’s economy, said the utility needs to intensify its recovery and add clean energy stations.

State-owned Eskom hasn’t implemented rotational blackouts for 79 days, which hit a record last year and would sometimes see businesses and households only have power for half a day. Officials have attributed the steadier power supply to efforts by the utility to improve the reliability of poorly maintained coal-fired power stations. 

“Eskom will continue to focus on implementing operational recovery, strengthening governance and future proofing the organization to enable energy security, growth and long-term sustainability,” Marokane said at a press conference on Friday.

Fixing Eskom and South Africa’s energy crisis has been a top priority for the government. After slow progress due to multiple delays, efforts including better maintenance of power stations are starting to pay off. 

Eskom’s energy availability factor, a gauge of the performance of its mostly coal-fired plants, is improving after dropping below half due to breakdowns. The latest strategy aims for 70% availability by March 2025. About 2,500 megawatts of capacity from coal and nuclear units are expected to return online to bolster supply.

A plan to split the utility into generation, transmission and distribution units to make it profitable again is also progressing. 

Marokane said Eskom has the opportunity to reinvent itself, signaling that the century-old, state-owned monopoly can still thrive amid encroaching privatization of the power supply. He took over the job in March, occupying a hot seat that’s averaged roughly a new chief executive every year since 2007.

The company is also hiring more employees after previous campaigns to lower headcount. It’s seeking an executive to head its renewable division and is in talks with National Treasury about funding its own 75-megawatt solar farm near the Lethabo coal-fired power plant.

Eskom has developed an overall pipeline of 2,000 megawatts of clean energy projects, according to Marokane. Since the conditions of the utility’s debt relief set last year restricts its capital expenditure, the utility will “look at various creative ways” to finance the stations, he said.

--With assistance from Simbarashe Gumbo.

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