Eskom has no diesel – and no plan to order any until April

Eskom’s diesel-burning Ankerlig power station

Eskom has no money to burn diesel in its open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) until the start of its next financial year on 1 April 2023 — and won’t start the OCGTs until then unless it gets billions of rand from somewhere.

This much became evident in a series of tweets on Sunday by energy expert Chris Yelland, who relayed on Twitter the answers to a series of questions he posed on Sunday to Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

“I have just contacted the Eskom spokesperson by phone and received the following clear answers in respect of Eskom diesel supplies for the emergency, diesel-driven open-cycle gas turbines at Gourikwa and Ankerlig,” Yelland tweeted.

Read: Eskom crisis is driving South Africa to the edge of a cliff

According to Yelland, Mantshantsha said the diesel tanks at the two OCGT sites are empty, and that Eskom has not ordered any more diesel to replenish them. The utility, which was the site of large-scale corruption and looting during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, will impose stage-5 load shedding from 4pm on Monday, plunging South Africa’s into deeper economic trouble.

Here are some of the questions posed by Yelland to Mantshantsha along with the Eskom spokesman’s answers:

  • When will the diesel for the OCGTs will be replenished? Not until 1 April 2023 at the earliest, or until someone provides Eskom with more money for procurement of diesel, noting the Eskom spend overrun on diesel to date is 2x budget for the current financial year.
  • Has additional diesel been ordered? No.
  • When does the ship dock at Mossel Bay and Cape Town? Answer: Nothing is currently on order by Eskom or outstanding for delivery to Eskom.
  • How long is it expected that the Eskom OCGTs will be unavailable? At least until 1 April 2023, unless someone comes up with the money for Eskom, and diesel is ordered, delivered and paid for.
  • Can you confirm how many litres of diesel has Eskom burned this calendar year to date? As many litres as R11-billion could buy.

Load shedding has become an almost permanent fixture in recent months, with Eskom management warning recently of continued load shedding for at least the next six to 12 months due to a chronic shortage of generating capacity, persistent breakdowns at its ageing power stations and little additional capacity coming onto the grid in the short term.  — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media

Get TechCentral’s daily newsletter