Dr. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is satisfied with Eskom’s continued improved generation performance after the Kusile power station’s one generating unit was put back into service on Monday evening. The completion of repairs was not expected until December.
The minister is positive that the improvement in the generation capacity can mean the end of load shedding. Load power is currently suspended throughout the day, with phase 2 in effect from 4pm to 5am.
Kusile’s unit 1 broke down together with units 2 and 3 in August last year.
“The repair of the unit has now been completed two months ahead of schedule and adds 800 MW to the power grid,” says Tsakane Khambane, spokesman for the minister.
Unit 3 was returned to service on 29 September, also earlier than expected, with unit 2 expected to be restored in November. Unit 5, which has also packed up, is planned to be commissioned again in December this year.
“The restoration of Kusile’s units represents an important milestone in our endeavor to restore South Africa’s economy, protect employment opportunities and improve citizens’ quality of life.
“The minister remains focused on strengthening the country’s electricity generation capacity by paying attention to the expansion and strengthening of generation infrastructure to accommodate new renewable generation capacity.”
Ramokgopa praised the generation team for their hard work to bring “stability and credibility” back to Eskom’s power stations and help reduce the impact of load shedding.
Fight against corruption is bearing fruit
Eskom’s sustained efforts to combat crime and corruption are paying off, with a subcontractor of Eskom Rotek Industries (ERI) arrested along with several Eskom employees last week.
According to Botse Sikhwitshi, acting general manager for security at Eskom, the subcontractor apparently demanded R6 000 from the supervisor of a coal transport company in exchange for three of his trucks being allowed to unload coal at the Camden power station. The contractor claimed that the trucks’ coal was mixed with stones and that the coal could not be unloaded. He promised that the coal could be unloaded if the bribe was paid.
“Despite the fact that the supervisor did not comply with the suspect’s demands, the trucks unloaded the coal. The conversation between the driver, supervisor and the contractor was captured by the truck’s camera,” confirms Sikhwitshi.
“An internal Eskom investigation found that the subcontractor had indeed demanded bribes from the coal transport company and its supervisor. It was also established that the coal that was delivered was not mixed with stones, as the suspect claimed.”
The suspect has since admitted to asking for a bribe and has been arrested on charges of bribery. He appeared in the magistrate’s court in Ermelo on Thursday.
“We commend the manager and supervisor who refused to pay the bribe and reported the matter to Eskom. It is through such collaborative efforts that the fight against crime and corruption will be won.”