Eskom’s $4bn coal bill headache largely of its own making

South Africa wants coal producers to help debt-stricken state power utility Eskom Holdings tackle its skyrocketing costs of the fuel – a problem that’s largely of its own making. Eskom traditionally signed so-called “cost-plus” contracts for coal with mining companies that managed and operated shafts the utility helped finance. In 2015 then-CEO Brian Molefe criticised the model, saying the utility wanted to buy “the bread, not the entire bakery” and it increasingly began to enter into short-term supply agreements.