Eskom said it has informed Nersa about the current coal supply challenges and planned remedial actions as per regulatory requirements. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

Johannesburg - Power utility Eskom said on Friday that it has informed National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) about the current coal supply challenges and planned remedial actions as per regulatory requirements.

Eskom is facing significant shortages of coal supply at seven coal-fired power stations, particularly those in the Mpumalanga province, which would have a serious impact on its operations and the entire country. 

The power utility said the prevailing situation at the seven stations Arnot, Tutuka, Majuba, Hendrina, Camden, Kriel and Komati power stations, is that coal stock levels are below the required target of 20 days as stipulated in the Grid Code. 

Eskom said that a number of factors, including the historical underinvestment at cost-plus mines due to capital constraints and the undersupply on both coal quality and quantity by the Tegeta mines which are under business rescue, have negatively impacted stock levels and production. 

Eskom's interim group chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe, said that the recent media reports on impending load shedding due to a shortage of coal were unfounded. 

Hadebe said that Eskom has informed Nersa of the current coal supply challenges and planned remedial actions as per regulatory requirements.

"Eskom has contracted 84 percent of the coal it requires over the next five years.  A recovery plan is in place to address the short-term imbalance of coal and to improve the stock days at the seven stations below minimum," Hadebe said 

"Eskom is working on ways to expedite the coal procurement process at these mines."

Eskom said that the recovery plan includes securing additional coal supplies for the affected stations, adding that a further redirection of coal stock was underway to address the imbalance.

African News Agency/ANA