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Eskom misses latest Medupi deadline

The utility is however still confident one unit at the Medupi power station will go online in mid-2015.

Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - One unit will go online in mid-2015 despite missing a December deadline at the Medupi power station, Eskom confirmed on Tuesday.

Unit six at the power station was due to start synchronisation with the grid by the end of last month but this was delayed by cleaning of the system.

The power utility says the grid is currently under pressure but load shedding has so far been averted.

In November last year, a coal silo at the station collapsed causing widespread blackouts across the country.

The parastatal was then forced to implement rolling blackouts due to limited generating capacity and several problems at power stations.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger says construction of unit six at Medupi is complete but they're now conducting a complex cleaning procedure which is taking longer than anticipated.

"We're busy with cleaning steam pipes. It isn't easy to predict how long it will take."

Etzinger expects this to take only a few more weeks.

"We're still on track for the commercialisation of the unit in the first half of 2015."

The spokesperson says Eskom will wind down maintenance operations before the start of winter when demand intensifies.

The African National Congress last month called on Eskom to fast-track construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations to alleviate the strain on the grid.

The parastatal says the return to work by many South Africans predictably led to an increase in electricity demand.

It says while the national grid is under a certain amount of pressure, the situation is manageable at this stage.

Eskom on Monday said the risk of load shedding remained low, despite many businesses opening for the New Year.

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