Eskom’s rush to transport larger than normal amounts of coal between power stations this festive season will save the country the cost of further load shedding.
However, the utility company warned holiday travellers using major arterial roads in Mpumalanga that there would be an increase in the number of trucks on the roads during this time.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed the extra deliveries was to prevent more load shedding due to shortages of coal.
“The cost of load shedding is higher than the cost of transporting coal,” Phasiwe said. “We would rather truck coal than have load shedding.
“They are saying that South Africa loses an average of of between 80 and R100 million a day because of load shedding. Clearly, Eskom is not going to be spending R80 million [on transporting coal]. It will be a very minimal amount.
“Eskom will disclose the amount in our annual financial report at the end of March next year.”
He added that the link between coal shortages and load shedding was largely misunderstood.
Earlier this month, the utility said that lack of generation capacity at power stations was the main cause of load-shedding, not coal shortages.
Phasiwe reiterated this: “In terms of our operating licence from the energy regulator we need to have a minimum of 20 days of stockpiles at our power stations. Currently some of our power stations have less than this and therefore we are trying to comply with that regulation.”
Phasiwe said the extra coal deliveries would not constitute new procurement processes as they would come from existing suppliers.
“That process has been sorted out already.
“Many of the people that have been secured to do this are already our suppliers, they are not doing anything new.”