Flaws in Medupi’s design being rectified: Eskom

Eskom says Medupi Unit Three went smoothly, with the unit reaching its full generation capacity of around 800 megawatts.

Eskom has admitted flaws in the design of the Medupi Power Station that hampered power generation which it says has now been rectified.

Due to a reduction in demand owing to the coronavirus lockdown, Eskom, has managed to avert rolling power outages in recent months as power usage plummeted during the lockdown. It has been able to do maintenance on generating units.

Eskom earlier said Medupi Unit Three went smoothly, with the unit reaching its full generation capacity of around 800 megawatts.

The power utility said the unit had undergone boiler plant modifications and similar work is being conducted on Unit Six. This will be followed by Unit 1 from mid-May.

Eskom Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer says the risk of load shedding remains until at least the middle of next year.

Oberholzer says. “Unfortunately what we designed initially we didn’t get the investment out of that but we have now together with Mitsubishi focused on getting a technical solution, which we believe we have now. For the last decade we haven’t done the proper maintenance and liability maintenance on generation plants so we in the process now of doing exactly that.”

He says the COVID-19 pandemic has given the helped them the opportunity to do short term opportunistic maintenance.

“So it is helping us. Last night (Wednesday) we had demand of over 31 000 Megawatts and we dealt with that successfully. However, for the period up until the middle of next year the risk of load shedding unfortunately remains.”

Eskom to implement power restrictions 

On Wednesday, Eskom said it will be restricting electricity supply on a rotational basis in high density areas of the Gauteng province.

The power utility said it will target areas which are overloading and damaging infrastructure through illegal connections.

The power utility says it has continued to record a “substantially high” trend of energy demand during peak periods in the mornings and evenings in certain areas of the province.

Eskom Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha insists that their decision to restrict electricity supply does not amount to load shedding.

“So it is not load shedding. What we have here in Gauteng in particular and in other high density areas and this is the key word, high density areas which are also prone to people connecting to the electricity infrastructure illegally and overloading. This is an attempt therefore only during the peak hours that’s the evening and in the morning to limit supply to those areas,” explains Mantshantsha.