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Parliament shares ‘major concern’ over Eskom coal reports

It wants the power utility’s top brass to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clarify the severity of the situation.

FILE: Eskom's Hendrina power station in Mpumalanga. Picture: eskom.co.za

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s Energy Committee says it’s concerned by reports of Eskom battling with low coal supply at six of its power stations.

It wants the power utility’s top brass to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clarify the severity of the situation.

Chairperson of the committee Fikile Majola says that their major concern is whether electricity supply is under threat.

Eskom says there’s no emergency yet but has acknowledged that it’s struggling to get coal from the Gupta-owned Tegeta mines.

Fikile Majola says he doesn’t want to speculate about the severity of the situation, rather Eskom should give MPs first-hand information.

The committee wants to know what Eskom’s plans are to overcome the situation and, with winter approaching, whether there will be power cuts.

The power utility says it’s been permitted by National Treasury to source coal from other suppliers.

Eskom is due to appear before Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee on Wednesday to discuss its latest financial results.

In December, it emerged that Gupta-owned Tegeta threatened to shut down coal supply to Eskom just as the power utility discovered that thousands of tons of coal had gone missing.

Leaked minutes of an Eskom meeting revealed that managers were warned that the Hendrina power station could be forced to shut down.

Alternatively, they would have to use expensive open cycle gas turbines or contend with load shedding.

South Africans were hit with rolling power cuts in 2008 as the power utility struggled to keep the lights on.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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