Call to expedite fixing of Medupi and Kusile design defects

The Political Task Team on Eskom has told the management at the power utility to expedite the fixing of the design defects at Medupi and Kusile power plants, says Deputy President David Mabuza.

The Deputy President said this when he responded to oral questions during a sitting of the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

“From the onset, we must admit that Kusile and Medupi power stations have not achieved the desired levels of performance and reliability. This is due to a combination of operational, plant designs and maintenance inefficiencies.

“In order to establish for ourselves the progress being made in correcting the identified challenges, which in the main, involve design defects of the power plant, as the Political Task Team on Eskom, we undertook an oversight visit to Kusile power station in May 2021.

“We have stressed to the management of Eskom our stance that the defects identified at Medupi and Kusile power stations, must be corrected expeditiously to avoid further project delays and cost escalations,” he said.

He added that Eskom is making progress in developing and implementing effective technical solutions to the major plant defects at both the plants, in line with the plant defect correction plan.

Design defects at Medupi to be fixed by 2027

Mabuza said as part of implementing the plan, the major design modifications at all units at Medupi have resulted in a substantial improvement in the availability and reliability of the commissioned units at the power station.

He said the units now consistently achieve design output, with the exception of unit 4 - which suffered a generator failure resulting in a prolonged outage.

“There are however, long-term modifications to the milling plant that will still need to be carried out when maintenance outages are scheduled. Similar modifications have been carried out at Kusile units 1 and 2, with unit 3 currently on a planned outage for design defect correction.

"The timeframe for the completion of boiler plant defects solutions is October 2023 and corrections to the milling plant will be completed after December 2027, depending on the outage availability of units," he said.

Several approaches are being implemented as part of correcting the design defects at Kusile and Medupi to ensure sustainability of these efforts:

• All defects are dealt with in accordance with the contractual conditions;

• The liable contractors are being held to account, within the provisions of the contract to correct the new plant design deficiencies at the contractors’ cost, while commercial and contractual issues are resolved through negotiation;

• Eskom has also reached an agreement with the boiler contractor in terms of which the total boiler defect correction costs will initially be split on a 50 percent-share basis between Eskom and the boiler contractor at both Medupi and Kusile. Once this is completed, the liable parties will be responsible for the defect correction costs;

• In order to ensure good governance, and compliance with Eskom’s commercial and procurement processes, Eskom is utilising its legal team to re-draft contracts, and to recover costs from liable contractors.

Source: South African Government News Agency