Eskom has burnt 48.5 million litres of diesel for R626 million, running open-cycle gas turbine power plants to meet peak power demands this month.
This volume of diesel is enough to fill the tanks of 1,077,777 Volkswagen Polos or 606,250 Toyota Hilux bakkies.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter revealed the figures during a media briefing on Thursday.
Based on these amounts, Eskom pays approximately R12.91 per litre of diesel.
Eskom burns diesel reserved for emergency generation in its OCGTs to make up for shortfalls in generation capacity during peak power demand periods.
De Ruyter said he believes Eskom is burning too much diesel but noted the necessity of the emergency power source to match high power demands.
“We burn too much diesel. We don’t like spending money on diesel, but the open-cycle gas turbines play a very important role in reducing the peak demand, particularly during evening peaks,” he explained during a media briefing.
“This is what the plants were designed for. This is why they are there, and we have in the past been using them quite successfully.”
He added that the OCGT plants are well maintained and that Eskom ensures it has adequate diesel stocks available.
“This is something we monitor very closely. It’s measured on an hourly basis, and we monitor the arrival of trucks, particularly at Ankerlig,” he said.
“We, therefore, do everything in our power to not run out of that reserve capacity.”
It also updates the media on its diesel reserves in its state of the system media briefings, which it holds daily while load-shedding is active.
In Thursday’s meeting, De Ruyter said that diesel reserves at the Ankerlig was at 85%, and Gourikwa at 65%.
He added that the lower levels at Gourikwa are not of concern as it has a direct diesel supply line.
On the other hand, Ankerlig requires diesel deliveries to restock its reserves, meaning logistics can be challenging when diesel levels decline.
Eskom’s current levels of diesel usage are not the highest it has reached this year. In early March, the power utility revealed that it was burning 9 million litres a day to run its OCGTs.
Over 20 days that would’ve worked out to 180 million litres — enough to fill 4 million Volkswagen Polos and almost 2.25 million Toyota Hilux bakkies.
At the price of R12.91 per litre, this equates to R2.3 billion. However, it should be noted that Eskom was likely paying less per litre at the time as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine led to fuel price increases in April.