Image source: Waldo Swiegers. Bloomberg

South African power utility Eskom has issued a statement in response to recent media coverage around loadshedding and coal supplies to the Duvha Power Station.

Eskom has placed on the record that it has not at any stage made any statement that loadshedding will last five more years, as alleged by an online publication on Monday [15 March 2021].

In line with its media briefing on 15 March 2021, the power utility has reiterated that the current shortages of electricity generation infrastructure amount to a deficit currently of 4,000MW.

In a statement, Eskom said: “This gap may indeed widen should demand for electricity increase. This is consistent with what President Ramaphosa said during the 2021 State of the Nation Address:’…Eskom estimates that, without additional capacity, there will be an electricity supply shortfall of between 4,000 and 6,000MW over the next five years, as old coal-fired power stations reach their end of life.’

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Duvha power station coal supply

Eskom states that the Sunday Times’ reporting based on anonymous source, alleged that Eskom was defying and “ignoring” the National Treasury’s rejection of a bid to extend a coal supply contract with South32, a company that currently supplies the Duvha Power Station. However, Eskom strongly refuted the claims and has stated that the utility “has not, and will not defy any Treasury regulations on the matter, or any other legitimate Treasury decision.”

“At all material times Eskom’s management team respects and complies with all its obligations under the Public Finance Management Act. In October 2020, National Treasury rejected Eskom’s deviation application for approval to solicit long term coal supply for Duvha Power Station from a single source, i.e. South32’s tied colliery. However, National Treasury supported the extension of the supply of coal to Duvha by South32 under the current interim relief agreement,” reads Eskom’s statement.

In conclusion, Eskom said in the statement: “…the continued supply of coal to Duvha Power Station is critical to ensure security of supply for the country. As such, Eskom is in the process of submitting an application to National Treasury in order to secure the coal supply and secure the approximately 2,875MW of electricity output from the power station facility.”

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