South Africa needs to commit more to distribution and skills if it is going to reach its promise of universal access to the national electricity grid by 2012, according to a report by Reuters.

Eskom managing director Kannan Lakmeehran said a significant investment is needed if more energy is to be provided to the nation, which has been on rationing now for years.

“It’s a difficult target. It will require significantly higher investment in distribution networks in Eskom and in the municipalities,” Lakmeehran said.

“We also need to make sure that we have enough skills to execute the programme. That’s another major concern.”

Lakmeehran said that Eskom is willing to make an investment of $40bn to reach the target.

Eskom operates 11 coal-fired power plants and runs Africa’s only nuclear and other small power plants and claims to generate 95% of the country’s power.

Eskom has been rationing electricity supply this year as the national grid has been unable to meet the demand.