Eskom's new power plants to blame for fresh wave of blackouts - TechCentral

Eskom’s new power plants to blame for fresh wave of blackouts

The latest plants built by South Africa’s financially strapped power utility experienced outages on Thursday that led to ongoing electricity cuts.

The Medupi and Kusile coal-fired stations, both unfinished and behind schedule, had units trip, Eskom’s acting head of generation Andrew Etzinger said in a response to questions. Eskom said on Thursday afternoon it will increase cuts to 2GW from 3pm to 11pm.

The cost of Eskom’s new Medupi and Kusile plants has ballooned to more than R300-billion, up from an original projection of R109.6-billion, and they have proved unreliable since being commissioned.

In addition to the Medupi and Kusile outages on Thursday, a unit at the Matla station in Mpumalanga also tripped — together accounting for over 2GW.

Total outages, including the new units, accounted for 12.7GW. Eskom has a total nominal capacity of about 45GW. The utility said last year that its plant availability is only set to improve from this month.

Eskom recently revised higher its estimate of how much more it will cost to fix issues discovered at the new plants. The problems will cost at least R2-billion to resolve, it said in January.  — Reported by Paul Burkhardt, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP