We won’t run out of coal and we won’t bail out the Guptas – Eskom

Maybe everyone should relax?


Over the month of April Eskom has admitted and been warned that it could be on the verge of running out of coal. Why? Well, a Gupta owned mine used to supply the country’s coal until it went bust recently. According to the new Eskom leadership, though, everything is under control.

Read: “Eskom has 10 days to change drastically” – Expert analyses chances of blackout

The power utility now says it has a “mitigating strategy in place” even though coal stocks at seven of the country’s power stations had dropped below the minimum 20-day supply level.

HuffPostSA were told by Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe that new suppliers are on the way.

“What we are doing as a mitigating strategy is to divert coal from the eight other power stations that have a surplus so that we can keep the system running. We are also in the process of signing new contracts with supplementary suppliers so we can continue to get coal into these power stations.”

Reports have also been doing the rounds that Eskom is having a think about bailing out the Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine. This would be done by accepting the mine’s request to double the rate charged for coal.

Phasiwe says Eskom is simply “not prepared to do that”.

“People are saying Eskom has been bending backwards to accommodate the Guptas. If we were to do something like that [accept the deal], we would be falling into that trap… For us, the main aim really is to ensure that whatever is going to happen to this asset (Optimum), we are not going to be compromised in terms of the coal, the coal quality and the volume we have agreed on.”

“If we do that, Eskom will probably be shooting itself in the foot. The previous owners of that mine, which is Glencore, were asking for the same adjustment that Tegeta is asking for.”

While the coal situation may still be up in the air, Eskom has repeatedly stressed that load shedding is no longer a “word in our vocabulary”.