LISTEN: 'There's nothing to worry about,' Eskom says amid coal shortage

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Electricity power cables

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom on Friday promised it was making contingency plans to ensure lights stay on this winter amid a coal shortage.

The power utility is battling to recover from a financial and leadership crisis.

It said it was facing coal shortages at seven power stations.

Eskom supplies around 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, predominantly by burning coal.

The state-owned utility has been forced to introduce nationwide electricity cuts in the past decade, the latest in 2015, denting economic output.

READ: Power cuts to defaulters before election &39;politically not palatable&39;: Eskom

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said there was nothing to worry about and that the lights would stay on.

One analyst however said the power giant is still running diesel turbines, which are meant for emergencies only.

“This matter is about statistics, probabilities and breakdowns...  and that is outside of Eskom&39;s control,” electricity expert Chris Yelland said.

“If one has good reserves, then the risk of load shedding is reduced. To indicate the levels of risk, Eskom is running on open cycle gas turbines. The fact that they are running them indicates how close they are to the edge..."

You can listen to the interview with Phasiwe in the multimedia box above.