Eskom now flags 'fake news' on its website

(iStock).
(iStock).

Amid prolonged load shedding, Eskom recently launched a dedicated section on its website, flagging media and social-media reports it has labelled "fake news". 

"These are false and misleading," Eskom said of the reports.

The first item of "fake news" it highlighted was an Afrikaans sound-clip relating to coal and fuel.

The sound clip, among other things, claimed that Eskom uses sub-standard coal from "empowered" suppliers and needs to purchase oil to "spike" the coal for it to burn. Eskom refuted this claim, saying that oil is not mixed with coal in the power generation process and that the coal it is supplied meets quality requirements.

Eskom further said that various factors had contributed to load shedding – and that these are not linked to fuel oil supply. 

While President Cyril Ramaphosa promised there would be no load shedding over the festive period extending until January 13, 2020, the power utility is currently battling unplanned breakdowns. It instituted load shedding just four days into the new year, when electricity demand is expected to be low. This was due to the failure of a conveyor belt carrying coal from Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine to the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, Fin24 previously reported.

Eskom will implement stage two load shedding from 08:00 on Thursday to 06:00 on Friday morning, having lost additional generation capacity on Wednesday night. Breakdowns are over 14 000 MW.

When breakdowns are above 9 500 MW, Eskom must use emergency power generation which relies on open cycle gas turbines and pumped storage hydro electrical plants. The open cycle gas turbines rely on large quantities of diesel and can only be used for short periods before diesel and water reserves run out.

Eskom said its emergency reserves are not sufficient to meet electricity demand for the day.

When asked why there had been a loss of generating units, Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said that the system had been "volatile and unpredictable" for a while. "We have a recovery plan in place to turn this around. It will be a minimum of two years before we see any long term and sustainable results," she told Fin24.

Compiled by Lameez Omarjee

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