Eight of Eskom’s 15 coal-fired power stations had less than the minimum required 20 days of coal stockpiles and two of these stations have less than 10 days of coal, the utility says. These levels though dire, in fact show an improvement on November when 11 stations had stocks falling short of the 20-day benchmark. Just last week four stations had coal for less than 10 days. Overall stockpiles are slowly rising with reserves up to 28 days and on track to exceed 32 days by the end of the financial year. The utility said it had also locked in 2.7Mt tons of 4Mt in emergency coal and placed 35 new coal contracts this year. Thursday also marked the fifth consecutive day that power cuts, or loadshedding, was not implemented.

“It’s progress, but we are certainly not out of the woods yet”, Eskom GM of operations Dan Mashigo said at a media briefing. Eskom’s situation, both financially and operationally, is indeed dire. Its debt cost have ballooned but electricity sales continue to dec...

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