Ghosts of the Guptas – why Eskom can’t keep the lights on

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Coal. Image: Twitter/@ESIAfrica

Delays in procurement processes to get new coal contracts are behind the latest bout of nationwide load shedding by state power producer Eskom.

The utility’s spokeperson, Khulu Phasiwe, said several power stations were suffering supply shortages as a result of the cancellation of Eskom’s controversial contract with the Gupta-Zuma owned entity Tegeta.

Yesterday, the utility announced stage 1 load shedding as of midday to preserve emergency resources.

“Customers are advised to keep checking their load shedding schedules on the Eskom and their municipal website, and to plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place. We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly during this period.

“Please switch off geysers as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand.”

The announcement came after an energy analyst predicted the event, warning that Eskom’s stockpiles had declined significantly and the utility was headed towards a supply crisis.

This was despite the fact that the under-construction Medupi Power Station was sitting with a surplus stockpile, which is currently being used to supplement other stations, according to Phasiwe.

“We don’t have a coal problem at Medupi; the problem is at the other stations that were previously supplied by Tegeta.

“There are plans in place to sign 14 new coal contracts and, to date, we have signed 27 contracts in total.

“Hopefully all of these things will be alleviated by then and we are looking at stockpile levels improving by the end of March next year,” Phasiwe said.

Meanwhile, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) was receiving public submissions after the cash-strapped utility applied for a 15% tariff increase in October, which would last for the next three years.

ALSO READ: Load shedding returns as Eskom implements stage one

The utility also applied for retroactive shortfall funding via a regulatory clearing account (RCA) application of R21.6 billion for the fifth year (2017/18) of the MYPD 3 period.

The Nersa MYPD (multi-year price determination) methodology requires Eskom, after financial year end, to submit its RCA application to Nersa, based on efficient and prudent costs reflected.

The RCA is an account in which all potential adjustments to Eskom’s allowed revenue have been approved by Nersa.

– simnikiweh@citizen.co.za

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni