Eskom’s wet-coal strategy seems to have paid off, power utility says

Image for illustration. Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

The risk of challenges brought on by wet coal remained, however, should the downpours continue unabated.

Eskom says the wet-coal strategy the power utility began to implement more than a year and a half ago seems to have paid off, looking at how the entity managed to weather the recent downpours resulting from the now downgraded tropical storm Eloise.

The power utility said on Monday that the tropical storm had not caused any major disruptions to its operations.

On Tuesday, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in the past year and a half, the power utility had put a great deal of preparation into dealing with wet weather, an investment which seems to be paying off in light of how the entity dealt with this recent storm.

The risk of challenges brought on by wet coal remained, however, should the downpours continue unabated, Mantshantsha said.

On Sunday night, the storm passed through the transmission lines from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique without any incident, Eskom said.

ALSO READ: Tropical storm Eloise likely to cause increased rainfall in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KZN

“The high-risk sections of the transmission lines were reinforced after similar storms in previous years. The risk, however, remains with the possible flooding of rivers and uprooting of trees in the areas surrounding the transmission lines,” the entity said on Monday.

Mantshantsha said on Tuesday that in light of the exorbitant costs it involved in covering up the stockpile at a medium-sized power station of 3000MWs, for example – which requires stock right next to the station that would sustain it for 20 days – the focus now was on drainage to ensure that when heavy rains fall, the water is properly drained.

Mantshantsha added that a portion of the coal stockpile is covered in times of rainfall.

Meanwhile, Eskom in the North West has alerted communities that the recent strong winds and heavy rains in the province may affect its network and cause an inadequate power supply.

“Eskom advises all communities to be cautious of overhead power cables that are damaged, collapsed or low hanging due to stormy weather conditions.

“Community members should be extra vigilant of these cables and they are urged to treat them as live and dangerous.

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