Medupi unit six coming online in the next month

Unit six of the Medupi power station – which was scheduled to go live in December – will be synchronised by mid-February.

This is according to Solidarity members who work at Eskom.

The union pointed out in a statement that this will only happen if there are no unforeseen problems.

Medupi, which started construction in 2007, was first set to come online in mid-2013, after a number of technical, labour and manufacturing issues hampered progress.

Eskom had initially set a deadline for one of the units of the much-delayed Medupi power plant to come online by 24 December – offering an additional 800MW to the national grid – but the plan was once again postponed.

“Our members indicated that good progress was being made with the preparations for the synchronisation of Unit 6,” said Deon Reyneke, head of Solidarity’s Energy Industry.

“We believe and trust that, if all goes well, Eskom will be able to complete the synchronisation of this unit by the middle of February,” Reyneke said.

Reyneke expressed concern about allegations that Eskom was taking various shortcuts to make up for lost time.

The union has launched an investigation into the allegations.

Energy expert Chris Yelland previously brought to light several potential issues at Medupi relating to the lack of testing on the first Hitachi boiler to meet guidelines and contract specifications.

The tests are intended to simulate full-load conditions.

Eskom, meanwhile, denied any significant risk resulting from abandoning the testing, adding it took the decision after a “thorough risk evaluation”.

The power utility said it could handle any possible risk that may result from abandoning the testing.

“If Eskom is disregarding vital measures, the country and its power grid will suffer the consequences for a long time to come,” Reyneke said.

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Medupi unit six coming online in the next month