Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations could turn out to be the biggest disaster in SA’s economic history. The latest revelations that the plants have a litany of design and technological concerns that have seriously affected their operation puts paid to any notion that SA’s power crisis may be only temporary. Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza says the power stations are producing half the electricity they should be. The list of defects — which Eskom itself revealed as part of its plea to the National Energy Regulator SA to consider a higher tariff increase due to its financial stress — is truly astonishing. For instance, the boiler design results in high temperatures the spray water system cannot adequately cool. The design also causes ash blockages and does not allow for proper dust control, while the computer control system does not meet technical specifications. All of these, and others, result in frequent tripping and require maintenance to be done twice as frequently as would usually ...

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