Three months ago, Eskom was begging people to buy more electricity because it had too much. Now, electricity is again in short supply and Eskom has appealed to customers to save again. Unfortunately for the consumer, no matter the balance between supply and demand, the price of electricity continues to rise. In times of excess, Eskom cannot sell enough to generate the revenue it needs and it wants higher prices. In times of scarcity, it is compelled to fire up the open cycle gas turbines to meet demand, burning diesel, which is as good as burning money. The latest problem is brought on by a shortage of coal. The last time this happened, in 2008, the country went into load-shedding mode, which was to last on and off until 2015. Back then the central problem was wet coal brought about by unusual rainfall. This time, the shortage of coal is because Eskom’s "tied mines", which are mines developed and owned by Eskom in conjunction with mining companies many years ago, cannot deliver as e...

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