Blackouts are looming across the country as Eskom’s coal supply plummets on a daily basis.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe yesterday said the entity had initiated “another urgent coal purchasing project” from both current and non-Eskom coal suppliers.
“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 under way and once finalised, Eskom will follow due governance processes for urgent procurement internally and with the National Treasury,” Phasiwe said.
He said the 11 affected power stations are Arnot, Camden, Duvha, Hendrina, Komati, Kriel, Kendal, Majuba, Matla, Tutuka and Kusile. These stations reportedly have less than 20 days’ of coal currently, contravening the South African Grid Code which requires the entity to maintain stock levels at an average of 20 days.
“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. The risk of load shedding is always there, the difference is how we manage it.
“With the rainy season now in force, the power stations have 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,” Phasiwe said.
He said the “risk of no production at surface or open cast coal mines in the event of continuous heavy rains, which may lead to further coal stock decline”.
“All the mines have put in place treatment plans to ensure quick mine start-up after heavy rains.
These measures include adequate pumping capacity in the pits, adequate drainage at the mine’s final product stockpiles and continuous total moisture content analysis. All mines have been requested to operate throughout the December period. Volunteer staffing plans are being finalised by the mines,” Phasiwe said.
He said the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg dismissed Eskom’s application to urgently interdict Kuyasa to resume contractual coal supply to Majuba.
“Majuba is one of the stations that are below minimum level. The stoppage of Kuyasa Delmas 140Kt per month will have a negative impact on Majuba’s coal stock recovery. Of the 14 new coal contracts concluded in September and October some are 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.
“The Kuyasa coal stoppage has not yet affected Majuba’s power generation capacity, however the recovery of coal stock will be affected,” Phasiwe said.@smashaba