NATIONAL NEWS - Eskom’s coal stockpile situation has deteriorated further, with five power stations having less than 10 days’ stock. Interventions to stabilise the coal supply may only have a positive impact by March next year.
This means Eskom is entering the rainy season in Mpumalanga extremely exposed and that load shedding is a real risk, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Moneyweb on Sunday.
In the meantime, the power utility is using costly diesel plants to supplement the power generated by its coal-fired fleet. It is unlikely to recover this additional cost from tariffs and could see further deterioration of its finances due to this unplanned cost.
In addition, Eskom got a bloody nose in the High Court in Johannesburg when it tried to force one of its former coal suppliers, which had cancelled its contract with Eskom, to continue supplying coal to its Majuba Power Station near Volksrust in Mpumalanga.
Kuyasa Mining on Friday confirmed to Moneyweb that it stopped supplying about 140 000 tons of coal per month to Majuba – through its subsidiary Delmas Coal – late in October. In court papers Kuyasa, an emerging miner, accused Eskom of negotiating in bad faith about a sustainable tariff escalation model, and said the current rate of R12.34 per GigaJoule (GJ) at which Eskom buys coal from the group is less than its cost of production.
Kuyasa claims it has been subsidising its coal supply to Eskom by R12 million per month for the past year and that this is ruining the group financially. The payment terms were 30 days after receipt of Kuyasa’s invoice.
Kuyasa has offered to continue supplying Eskom until the matter has been settled in arbitration, but then Eskom must pay it R27/GJ on a cash-on-delivery basis. No date has been set for the arbitration.