South Africa
The coal crises at Eskom is getting worse

The coal crisis at Eskom is worsening, with at least four of Eskom’s 15 coal-fired power stations now having less than ten days of coal at hand on their stockpiles.

According to EE Publishers, Eskom requires an additional 1,3-million tons of coal per month to recover all power stations to the required level of stock by end of the its current financial year, namely 31 March 2019.

However, Eskom’s emergency plan to commence trucking coal from Medupi in August 2018 to its power stations in Mpumalanga province appear to have stalled, at least for the time being, in the face of various objections raised by municipalities and other authorities along the route.

Eskom has also advised that while transportation of coal by rail is its preferred option, development work with Transnet Freight Rail is underway, and rail transfer of coal from Medupi has not commenced.

The emerging coal crisis at Eskom was first revealed in an article by EE Publishers entitled “Inside the coal supply crisis at Eskom”, which was widely published and reported upon in April 2018, and which gave the background and reasons behind the utility’s coal supply shortages.

As a result of the above article, Eskom advised in April 2018 that seven of its coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga faced shortages, and that coal was being transported by truck from other Eskom power stations in Mpumalanga to alleviate the problem.

Subsequently, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe has since reported to Parliament on 28 August 2018 that nine of its power stations in Mpumalanga had “very low coal stockpile levels”, and that this had been reported to National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).

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The coal crisis at Eskom worsens…

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