Mzansi may have escaped load shedding this week after a fire at the Kendal power station in Ogies, Mpumalanga, but the pressured Eskom system means a 50% chance of power interruptions remains until Christmas.
Energy expert and mining consultant Ted Blom told Food For Mzansi that he attributes this to 80% of Eskom’s infrastructure not working efficiently due to mistakes made in the past.
Blom says the fire that broke out in the Kendal power station’s unit 1 early on Saturday morning (11 September) damaged its generator transformer. This forced a controlled shutdown of units 2 and 3.
Eskom has confirmed since that the station’s unit 3 returned to service on Monday afternoon and unit 2 on Tuesday evening. The power utility expects unit 1 to return to service in November this year.
Further investigations will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire.
Blom has reservations about whether unit 1 will be fixed by November as it is a 686 megawatt unit that will take “quite a while” to repair.
“Eskom says they are going to fix it up in November and that might or might not happen. But what they are doing, is that they are stealing parts from another power station to keep the Kendal power station going. And they have been doing that for quite a while.”
80% of Eskom not ‘roadworthy’
Blom further says that power generation was down 2 000 megawatts at the weekend and with the Medupi power station in Limpopo and the Kelvin power station in Gauteng not being up to standard, it may cause a struggle in generating enough electricity for the country.
“Medupi will take two to three years to fix and by the end of November unit 1 at the Kendal power station will be back, apparently, so we are really running tight.”
Blom says that Eskom already has no spare capacity to generate power because it is burning diesel to keep the grid going. If any other units go offline – and according to Blom there is a good chance of this happening because of infrastructure not working efficiently – the country might face load shedding again.
“80% of Eskom is not roadworthy. What do I mean by that? Well, its running but it is not running like it should be running. It’s running on flat tyres, the doors are falling off, the tyres are smooth, it doesn’t have proper breaks and only 20% is fully roadworthy. The other 80%…can break at any moment because it is already half broken.”
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