Carol Paton Writer at Large

Eskom’s mega power stations Medupi and Kusile, which were intended to alleviate SA’s power constraints, have a multitude of serious design and technical flaws that are impeding their operation. The poor performance of the new power stations is a decisive reason why Eskom is still unable to meet the country’s energy demands despite adding 3,200MW of capacity to the grid since 2015. The utility went into stage four load-shedding mode on Monday, dropping 4,000MW from the grid, the largest amount to date that it has needed to shed to keep the grid stable. Load- shedding takes place when demand exceeds supply and customers are dropped from the grid to avoid it from tripping. Two of the six generating units that failed on Monday, causing the jump to stage four, were at Medupi. Eskom, which supplies more than 95% of SA’s electricity, said the main problems at Medupi and Kusile lay at the door of the main contractor for the boilers, Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Afr...

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