Brace for a week of power cuts – Eskom blames lack of maintenance

Eskom has implemented stage 2 load-shedding after a conveyor belt transporting coal to Medupi power station failed and because six boilers were taken offline because of tube leaks.
Image: REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/File Photo

A critical mechanical failure on a conveyor belt transporting coal to Medupi power station and scores of boiler pipe leaks are what has brought on Wednesday’s load-shedding.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer, in an interview with TimesLIVE, said mechanical teams were en route to the conveyor belt which went down at 9am.

He said the belt fed coal from mines to the power station. The structural damage – which would take until the end of the month to repair – had reduced Medupi’s 4,000MW output by a third, he said.

“At this stage we simply do not know what has happened. We do not believe that it is sabotage or old age as the power station and the belts are relatively new. The mechanical teams will have to determine exactly what happened. The problems look as though they were at the pulley systems which saw the belts wrap around the pulleys.”

In regards to the boiler leaks, Oberholzer said they had lost six boilers since Saturday, with Eskom being forced to keep another three, which are leaking, in operation.

He said they believed the six boilers, two of which went down on Tuesday, would be back on line by the end of the week.

“We are, however, sitting with three other leaking boilers, which we will have to take off line soon to repair.”

Read more of the story on TimesLIVE




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