South Africa: How Historical Use of Poor-Quality Coal Has Affected Eskom's Efficiency and Brought Us Load Shedding


The quality of coal is essential for the adequate functioning of an electrical generation unit. In South Africa, some of it is mixed with sand and rocks.

On Thursday, Eskom released a communique announcing the implementation of Stage 1 load shedding, due to "a shortage of capacity". This comes after Eskom told Daily Maverick on Monday, 11 March 2019, that even though it was not predicting any load shedding for the rest of the week, it was a possibility, as the "system is tight".

Earlier this the week, the Zondo commission heard how in 2015, Tegeta, a Gupta-owned company, supplied "sub-standard" coal to Eskom. This was at the insistence of then acting chief executive Matshela Koko.

However, according to energy expert Chris Yelland, the issue is nothing new. Yelland told Daily Maverick that "the issue around coal quality has been ongoing for years. Coal quality is not consistent across the country".

He said that previously Eskom had coal mines that were "tied" (coal mines that are near power stations). This made it easy to monitor the quality of coal being supplied.

However, over the years these "tied" mines had struggled to keep up with Eskom's demand for coal, resulting in...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.