Eskom blames rain, wet coal for generation capacity failures

Eskom leaders are giving an update on the state of the national power grid after ratcheting up the power cuts to stage four on Tuesday morning.

FILE: Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Eskom has blamed the cold and rainy weather for its generation capacity failure.

The utility implemented stage two rolling blackouts over the weekend but it ratcheted up the power cuts to stage four on Tuesday morning.

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Eskom leaders are giving an update on the state of the national power grid - they said that they would reassess on Thursday and brief the country on the state of the system.

Generation executive Philip Dukashe said that the increase in demand, coupled with the loss of generating units impacted Eskom's planning.

"Some of our units, impacted by rain - we had to constantly support them using fuel oil and sometimes we lose combustion as a result of wet coal. We've got problems with the flowing of coal, so I think these are things we've managed well in the first bout of rain that we've had. If the rain is consistent, then our ability to manage becomes very difficult," Dukashe said.

Eskom chief executive, Andre de Ruyter, meanwhile said that the company's independent power procurement (IPP) plan needed to be speeded up.

De Ruyter has admitted to Eskom's failure in the past to add more energy sources to the grid.

"That eight-year delay has caused a significant delay in new capacity being added to the grid," De Ruyter said.

He said that the IPP plan needed to be accelerated.

"We do believe that there is about 200 megawatts of capacity that can be added from existing IPPs, which they have available from time to time - they are contractually limited from feeding that into the grid. We would urge the IPP office to accelerate its efforts to enable the contracts to be amended," De Ruyter explained.