Load shedding staring us in the face
THANKS to its Gupta deals, major coal supply shortages and an overspend of R1.3 trillion, Eskom has less than nine days to ensure the country is not left in the dark during the winter.The state utility admitted this week it was facing major coal supply shortages at seven power plants in Mpumalanga.
The Citizen has reported that Eskom has been relying on transporting “surplus” coal from other mines this year – a feat experts say is unsustainable and costly.
According to this national daily, Ted Blom, a partner at Mining & Energy Advisors, said the simple diagnosis for Eskom’s financial woes was its 2001 policy to move from long-term supply contracts with major listed companies to several short-term contracts, purportedly aimed at advancing transformation in the sector and getting cheaper coal.He said in the old system, long-term coal contracts produced cheaper coal than today.
“What we need is the four ugly sisters,” said Blom, referring to major coal companies, some of which Eskom previously had long-term contracts with: Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Xstrata and Glencore. They need to declare an emergency, so they can double up on labour and production by 10% or 20% within a week or so.”
The utility’s recent coal supply crisis was attributed in part to the Gupta-owned coal supplier, Tegeta. Blom recently called for an independent audit of the utility’s finances which, he said, should have been done after former public protector Thuli Madonsela made adverse findings against the utility regarding contracts connected to the Gupta family, in her State of Capture report.
The mining director at Cadiz Corporate Solutions, Peter Major, said the country was in more danger of rolling blackouts than Eskom was letting on.
“All of a sudden, we have found that we were in a lot more trouble than we thought. We’ve been using diesel generators. All those diesel generators were supposed to be mothballed, but now we are burning a lot of diesel and they had not told us how bad things really are. Eskom is not even at 75% efficiency and we are supposed to be at 88% to 90% minimum at all times.”
Antwoord van Linda Grimbeeck van KLCBT:
Beurtkrag sal heeltemal teenstrydig wees met Mnr Ramaphosa se planne vir ekonomiese groei. Dit alleen is die rede waarom Eskom nou alles in hulle vermoe sal doen om die ligte aan te hou. Die jongste nuus is dat hulle toestemming gekry het by Nasionale Tesourie om steenkool aan te koop sonder ‘n tender proses – sodanige proses sal te lank neem. Dit sal wel daartoe lei dat hulle moontlik duurder sal moet betaal vir die noodvoorraad, en hulle gaan moet groot planne maak om daarvoor te betaal terwyl hulle reeds groot kontantvloeiprobleme ondervind. Eskom hou vol dat die belangrikste en dringendste saak op die oomblik is om die steenkool in te kry, ten spyte van al die uitdagings wat moet oorbrug word. Ons vertrou dat die nodige planne in plek gesit word om beurtkrag te vermy.