With winter fast approaching and electricity demand expected to peak, the Gupta ghosts have come back to haunt Eskom once again.
After being severely burned by costly Gupta coal of dubious quality, the fleeing Guptas have again shortchanged Eskom by scavenging plant and cash flow, leaving the cupboards bare.
Ted Blom, a partner at Mining & Energy Advisors, highlights that as the Tegeta mines are now in business rescue, their operations and bank accounts plundered and workers unpaid, a good couple of billion rands will be required to restart operations.
“Given that the Optimum contract expires at the end of 2018, that is hardly likely to happen,” states Blom.
It seems that the Tegeta group have fingered their way into several power stations, over and above the Optimum contract.
According to Blom, Tegeta provides an estimated nominal nine million tons of coal per year into the Eskom supply chain, and with operations now closed, Eskom is short more than one million tons per month.
Other fly-by-night suppliers have been curtailed with the arrival of a new clean board at Eskom.
“Eskom management should have seen this train smash coming more than six months ago,” claims Blom. Proper coal supplier management with accurate dashboards of coal availability per operation, would have revealed the Tegeta supply as erratic and on a downward trend. Furthermore, routine monthly mine visits by Eskom senior management should have shown the plant was scavenged.
“This situation has been public knowledge for months, especially in Mining circles,” reveals Blom.
SA is now running on the expensive OCGT’s which burn more than a Billion rand of diesel per month and have been doing so since the beginning of 2018.
“This is another case of malfeasant management or corruption cover-up’s as alarm systems should have gone off at Megawatt Park, Eskom’s head office,” claims Blom.
Whereas Eskom claims to have 30 days coal stockpiled, Blom indicates this includes more than 10 million tons at Medupi – which is inaccessible to the Mpumalanga stations where the shortage exists.
Blom, who predicted the 2008 blackouts to the exact day, warns that Eskom has less than ten days to implement drastic corrective measures or SA will face another blackout.