South African state-owned power utility Eskom said on Thursday coal stock at its Hendrina power station might be lower than the 20-day supply requirement, but rolling power cuts known locally as load shedding were not likely.
Eskom may be forced to resume the nationwide electricity cuts that brought the economy to its knees after a mine linked to the Gupta business family threatened to halt coal supply, investigative news website Amabhungane reported on Thursday.
But Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe told Reuters the utility’s 12 other power stations still have sufficient coal supply.
Phasiwe confirmed Eskom had an emergency meeting last Friday to determine whether the coal supply at Hendrina and other stations have sufficient supply after Tegeta Exploration and Resources threatened to shut down coal supply to Hendrina.
At the end of March, coal supply at all Eskom’s power stations were on average 74 days, Phasiwe said, adding that by October supply at Hendrina was 25 days.
“There is an investigation by Eskom’s risk and assurance division which is going to determine whether the coal supply at Hendrina power station and all other power stations are according to the regulations,” Phasiwe said.
“The minimum Grid code says that we need to have at least 20 days of coal supply at our power stations.”
A spokeswoman at Tegeta’s parent company Oakbay, founded by the Gupta family as its main investment vehicle in South Africa, said the firm would likely comment by Friday.
The Gupta family agreed in August to sell Tegeta but the disposal has yet to be finalised.
The Gupta family, business friends of President Jacob Zuma, are accused of using their links with the 75-year old leader to wield undue influence and win lucrative state contracts. Both Zuma and the family deny any wrongdoing.
Reporting by Nqobile Dludla and Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Stoddard
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