Low coal stocks also to blame for outages, Eskom chief admits

2008-02-05 00:00

Eskom has conceded that the power outages are partly the result of the utility’s low coal stockpiles.

Its general manager for resources and investment strategies, Andrew Etzinger, told The Wintess the problem is the result of "higher than expected coal burn rates and lower than expected deliveries from mines in December … Our stockpiles are lower than we would want …"

Etzinger says Eskom has an average of 12 days’ worth of coal compared to what he calls a "comfortable level" of 20 days. Industry experts interviewed on M-Net’s Carte Blanche programme recently said 46 days’ worth is needed.

The coal industry is committed to helping Eskom increase its stockpile. A working group recently set up by the department of Minerals and Energy, coal producers and Eskom will make proposals to improve the "uncomfortably low coal stock levels" at some of Eskom’s power stations, according to Ben Magara of Anglo Coal.

Weekly meetings will be held to monitor progress and ensure that all power stations have the necessary coal stocks ahead of peak demand in winter.

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