File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – Eskom is pursuing urgent coal purchasing from current suppliers and those suppliers that are not currently contracted to Eskom as the stockpile at its power stations dwindle, forcing the state-owned entity to resort to burning diesel.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe, responding to questions from Business Report, said the power utility had secured 14 new coal contracts in September and October and some were for Majuba Power Station. 

“Additional coal contracts are in the pipeline to be concluded between this year and March 2019, three of which should be concluded before the second week of December,” Phasiwe said on Monday.

This after the Johannesburg High Court has dismissed the power utility’s application to urgently interdict Kuyasa to resume contractual coal supply to Majuba in Mpumalanga. 

Kuyasa supplies 140Kt of coal per month to Majuba, which is one of the stations that are below minimum level. The other affected power stations are: Arnot, Camden, Duvha, Hendrina, Komati, Kriel, Kendal, Matla, Tutuka and Kusile.

Load-shedding risk

Responding to questions from Business report Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said on Monday that the risk of load shedding was always there and the difference was how it was managed.

“The low coal stock level at 11 power stations presents a significant coal handling risk between the power station’s coal stock yards and the boilers,” said Phasiwe. 

Phasiwe said with the rainy season now in force, the power stations had implemented additional coal treatment plans such as compacting four to five days of coal stock to keep it dry for use in the event of continuous rains. 

He said this was due to the risk of no production at the surface or open cast coal mines in the event of continuous heavy rains, which might lead to further coal stock decline.

Phasiwe said Eskom had initiated another urgent coal purchasing project. 

“Some of the current suppliers with capacity have offered additional coal. Eskom is also awaiting further alternative coal offers from its current suppliers. 

“Identification of non-Eskom suppliers with capacity is underway and once finalised, Eskom will follow due governance processes for urgent procurement internally and with the National Treasury,” said Phasiwe.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE