LISTEN: Chamber refutes Eskom claims of coal shortage
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LISTEN: Chamber refutes Eskom claims of coal shortage

The Middelburg Chamber of Commerce in Mpumalanga has refuted claims of a coal shortage in South Africa.

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The chamber’s CEO, Anna Marth, was reacting to reports that the Gupta-owned Tegeta has undersupplied Eskom with coal.

The power utility says it is trying its best to stabilise the power grid and instituted load-shedding for an eight consecutive day on Thursday. 

“We just completed an audit of the 170 coal mines operating mines in the 200 KM radius of the Middleburg chamber and I have been to these sites, there is enough coal. There is a problem with supplying Eskom with the coal, either its expensive or the utility has operational challenges,” says Marth. 

She says the chamber was in a meeting with the power utility on last week where the challenges were discussed. 

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Energy expert Chris Yelland believes the problem lies with Eskom’s generation capacity. 

“The problem is that we don’t have the right amount of available capacity, what that means is that about a third of Eskom’s generation capacity is not available to do its job. Some of it is down for maintenance, out planned outages and some of it is operating at a reduced output. This means we are not able at this moment to meet the demand despite the fact that it’s lower in the summer.” 

Yelland says he is positive that there will be no load-shedding over the Christmas holidays. 

“I am optimistic that things will improve in the short term because the Cahora-Bassa power station in Mozambique is being repaired and should return to full service in the next day or two. In addition, the is PetroSA that produces diesel for the Gourikwa open cycle gas turbine which has been shut down for maintenance, but it is returning to service as well and should alleviate the diesel shortage.” 

Yelland added that one of the Koeberg units is being refueled and should be back on over Christmas. 

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