There will be no load shedding insists Eskom

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Hadebe said that six power plants now had less than the required coal supplies, down from seven recently, and the company has raised R43 billion ($3 billion) to run its operations since January. Last week they were talking about seven out of the fifteen power stations, this week they are saying it's one less.

ESKOM, the South African electricity utility, denied it was buying coal at a premium from Optimum Coal Mine in order to bail out the former Gupta-owned colliery, but it was in talks with the mine's business rescue practitioners about securing a new rate.

Optimum was put into business rescue in February for the second time after it failed to meet contractual deliveries to Eskom's Hendrina power station in January and could not pay the penalty amount issued by the utility.

Meanwhile independent energy expert Ted Blom told Fin24 on Wednesday that Eskom's board should have foreseen a risk of coal supply shortages six months ago.

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Eskom says it is now considering Optimum Coal Mine's business rescue practitioners' proposal to reduce the monthly coal supply tonnage to the Hendrina power station from 400 000 to 200 000 tonnage. Overall the coal stockpile levels are at 35 days, excluding Medupe and Kusile power stations.

Eskom has also contracted 84% of the coal it requires over the next five years and has a build programme that is expected to deliver 6,382 MW to be commissioned over the same period.

"There will not be load shedding this year", said Eskom's acting Chief Executive, Phakamani Hadebe, referring to forced interruptions to power supply.