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Eskom withdraws force majeure and warns of loadshedding risk

State-owned power utility Eskom has advised coal miner, Exxaro, of its withdrawal of the force majeure notification with immediate effect.

This follows Eskom’s issue to Exxaro Coal in April 2020 of a force majeure on the agreements for the supply of coal from Exxaro Coal to the Medupi and Matimba power stations – applicable for the period starting at 16 April 2020 until one month after national lockdown has been completely lifted.

Upon receipt of the force majeure notice, and after consultation with its legal advisers, Exxaro said that the event does not constitute force majeure as stipulated in the coal supply agreements, as the power stations are still capable of supplying power.

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Coal miner also said that it would vigorously defend its position in this matter and take the necessary action.

“As Eskom has been taking coal in accordance with the terms of the supply agreements, the impact of the force majeure event has been largely neutralised,” Exxaro said in a statement.

Exxaro reaffirms its view that this event did not constitute a force majeure, as the power stations have been capable of supplying power and Exxaro continues to reserve its rights in this regard.

Eskom power system remains constrained

On Sunday evening, Eskom announced that the power system will be severely constrained this coming week due to the unavailability of eight generation units, due to breakdowns or delays in the maintenance programme.

While some of the units will be returned to service, the system is expected to remain severely constrained for the rest of the week.

The return to service of a generation unit at the Duvha and Medupi power stations has been delayed, Eskom stated, adding that generation units at Tutuka, Majuba, Komati, Kendal, and two units at Hendrina have been shut down.

The power utility further noted that the aged generation infrastructure is unreliable and volatile.

While Eskom teams are working hard to return as many of these generation units to service as possible, any further deterioration in the generation performance may tip the country into loadshedding, Eskom concluded.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.