The Fall Out of State Capture Disrupts Eskom Coal Supply

  • Optimum Coal Mine workers blockaded the road leading to the Hendrina power station and also the entrance of the Optimum Coal Mine yesterday.
  • Hendrina is one of the 10 power stations with less than 20 days of coal stockpiles at its coal stockyard.
  • Hendrina power station has a generating capacity of 2 000MW, consisting of ten 200 MW machines.
  • Eskom continues to use open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) and emergency reserves to limit the possibility of load shedding.
  • Optimum Coal Mine is currently under business rescue and forms part of the Zondo commission into State Capture

Eskom reported yesterday that employees of Optimum Coal Mine protested against their employer in demand for salary payments. It is reported that the workers did not receive their salaries for the month of November.

The workers had blockaded the road leading to the Hendrina power station, and also the entrance of the Optimum Coal Mine. Hendrina is one of the 10 power stations with less than 20 days of coal stockpiles at its coal stockyard. Any protracted disturbances could have detrimental impact on the power station.

Hendrina power station is located approximately 40km south of Middelburg at the town of Hendrina in Mpumalanga. It has a generating capacity of 2 000MW, consisting of ten 200 MW machines.

Last Eskom Group Chief Executive Phakamani Hadebe announced that the energy untility has concluded new coal contracts. Hadebe announced that “ this will enable us to achieve an upwards turning on declining coal stock levels and bring about a marked improvement from December onwards, albeit slowly. Our short-term strategy to augment coal stocks at power stations that were below the minimum days is two-pronged, namely, coal procurement and diverting coal from well-stocked power stations.”

“We aim to improve coal stock levels at the impacted power stations from December and grow the total stock days from an average of 25 to 28 days by the end of the current financial year,” added Hadebe.

Eskom has battled to avert load-shedding this passed month due partly to poor supplies from the two Gupta owned mines currently under business rescue, Tegeta and Optimum. The two mines form part of the Zondo commission into State Capture.

Eskom chief Phakamani Hadebe has the unenviable task of navigating the state owned energy utility through the current coal stocks crisis plus maintenance and operational challenges, in order to avoid load shedding. All the while labour unions NUM and NUMSA apply pressure and often subversive tactics to uphold their workers interests as the country’s renewable energy program starts to re-spark.

Eskom maintains that the power system remains tight and vulnerable, however there is low to medium probability of load shedding today and for the rest of week. They continue to use open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) and emergency reserves to limit the possibility of load shedding. Some power generating units are projected to return to service later in the week

The Eskom multidisciplinary teams continue to work tirelessly on the 9-point recovery plan to improve generation and operational performance while also stabilising the system.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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