Eskom says it is not blackmailing Treasury into approving contracts for coal but would be acting irresponsibly if it did not ring warning bells.
This after Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane on Monday warned of possible load shedding this winter should the power stations that are in need of additional coal not get enough.
Speaking to The Citizen, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said it was not clear why there had been a delay in getting their request approved.
“Maybe it is because Treasury wants to make sure that all processes are followed through, in light of the investigations into the coal contracts, but we want to make it clear that we are not blackmailing Treasury,” he said.
Four of the 13 coal-fired power stations require additional coal: Arnot, Camden, Kriel and Duvha – all in Mpumalanga. Phasiwe stressed that there was a possibility of load shedding being implemented, saying they would have loved to have received approval from Treasury by now.
However, the power system was generally stable.
“Should we go into the middle of winter without adequate coal, that might compromise our operations. On the maintenance side of things, we have done our work and we also have enough diesel,” he said.
In the last couple of days, late evenings and early mornings have been cold, as minimum temperatures dropped significantly. According to Phasiwe, on Tuesday, the power used by consumers stood at 36,000Mw.
“Our predictions are that as we get fully into the winter season, we might also see the demand for electricity going up to about 38,000Mw. Our generating units were able to produce 39 000Mw on Tuesday night,” he said.
The South African Weather Service said minimum temperatures were expected to remain low for most of this week.
Weather forecaster Mbhavi Maliage says early indications suggested a mild winter for most parts of the country but there was still uncertainty around the forecast.