Power utility Eskom said on Monday that it had less than 20 days of coal supplies at 10 of its 15 coal-fired power stations. Photo: Saliem Fakir/African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG – South African power utility Eskom said on Monday that it had less than 20 days of coal supplies at 10 of its 15 coal-fired power stations, posing a threat to national power supplies.

“Out of our 15 coal-fired power stations, 10 of them have less than 20 days. Clearly this is contrary to what the regulator has prescribed,” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.

Cash-strapped Eskom is critical to Africa’s most industrialised economy as it supplies more than 90 percent of its power and is one of its most indebted state firms.

Recently, the power utility was in the spotlight due to a senior manager at the state-owned power utility said that it was struggling to emerge from a financial crisis and expected to have 7 000 less staff in five years. 

Cash-strapped Eskom has denied utterances by its senior manager that it plans to cut 7 000 jobs in the next five years.

This follows a report by Reuters on Thursday in which the news agency quoted Eskom senior manager Marion Hughes as saying: “Eskom intends to reduce headcount from 48 678 to 41 613 by 2023 across all levels through normal attrition.”

Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said: “Marion was referring to natural attrition. We don’t have any plans to retrench staff.” 

– REUTERS, BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE