Eskom says the coal shortage it is experiencing is manageable, which is why it has not declared a state of emergency.

Reports are being received of alarming coal supply problems at numerous Eskom coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga.

Eskom’s Spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, says the power utility is doing everything to manage the possibility of load shedding.

The latest coal supply reports suggest that the power utility’s current coal supply problems are as serious, if not worse, than those that existed in South Africa shortly before the load shedding in 2008.

Three coal power stations that are supplied by Tegeta have been experiencing challenges since late 2017.

Tegeta is currently under business rescue. Tegeta is controlled by the Gupta family through Oakbay Investments.

“Tegeta has declared some hardships currently under administration; we are diverting coal from other mines.”

However, some say the coal supply shortages at Eskom are widespread.

Energy analyst Chris Yellend says load-shedding cannot be ruled out.

“Eskom has indicated that will avoid load shedding but one cannot be 100% sure because Eskom experience high level of breakdowns.”

And as temperatures begin to drop with winter creeping in, Phasiwe could not give a guarantee that load shedding will not happen.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Energy signed 27 energy contracts worth about R55-billion with Independent Power Producers.

The signing of power purchase agreements, mostly solar and wind projects was held up for over two years.

It was also the subject of a last-minute legal challenge by labour union Numsa and the Transform RSA lobby group.

But a court rejected their application for an urgent interdict.

The National Energy Regulator (NERSA) is currently conducting public hearings into Eskom’s application in terms of the regulatory clearing account balance for the second, third and fourth year of the third multi-year price determination which totals R66.6-billion.

The RCA process reconciles variances between the projected and actual revenue and costs that Eskom incurred for certain elements.

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