Eskom to complete Medupi power station this year

Deputy President David Mabuza said Eskom has committed to completing the construction of Medupi power station this year, whil Kusile will be completed by 2023. Mabuza said while the system remains under pressure, government is confident that Eskom has put in place the necessary measures to keep the lights on.

“We are advised by the leadership of Eskom that a great deal of progress has been made in effecting corrective technical modifications, which are required at Kusile and Medupi,” he said.

“We are pleased that the Eskom leadership has put a clear maintenance plan in place to ensure that the energy availability factor is kept at levels which will avoid unexpected electricity supply disruptions.”

As part of achieving operating efficiencies and cost reduction, Eskom has embarked on the re-negotiation of some of the coal contracts to bring them in line with the [value for money] principle

Mabuza said Eskom is reviewing its headcount levels in a way that will balance and match business delivery outcomes, and will match the core skills and improve organisational performance.

— achieve optimal pricing and ensure win-win outcomes with the affected coal suppliers, in the best interest of our country.”

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says defects at Medupi and Kusile have been identified, and remedial work is expected to cost R300 million per unit.

Power utility Eskom senior management warned that load shedding remains a real threat as the system continues to have its vulnerabilities. Old coal-fired power plants remain a burden, while plans are in play to fix up build defects at their newest power plants.

De Ruyter says Eskom has five units that are currently in commercial operation at Medupi. It started with fixing unit number three – that was a 75-day outage. “It cost about R300 million to fix that one unit alone, so you can extrapolate from that the 12 units that we’ve got are going to cost us an extraordinary amount of money, both at Medupi and at Kusile.”

“We are now in the process of rolling out those design modifications to the other units. So we’ve already completed three more units at Medupi and, by the end of our financial year, we will have completed all of the units at Medupi.

“We can then start the process at Kusile. This is a very laborious exercise, and of course we have to schedule the outages in order not to add to the lack of capacity on the system. That is the legacy that we’ve got with those design defects, and we now have to take the pain in order to get reliable units onto the grid.”

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