Kendal Power Station fire raises load shedding fears

The Mpumalanga power plant's unit 1 tripped early on Saturday due to a failure of the generator transformer and caught fire.

Eskom's Kendal Power Station is coal-fired and situated in Mpumalanga. Picture: eskom.co.za

CAPE TOWN - It is unclear whether South Africans could see a return to load shedding this week following a fire at Eskom's Kendal Power Station.

The Mpumalanga power plant's unit 1 tripped early on Saturday due to a failure of the generator transformer and caught fire.

Two other units were also affected and subsequently shut down while no injuries were reported.

READ: Eskom reports fire at Kendal Power Station in Mpumalanga

"We still don't know the details. Kendal Power Station has been a very troublesome power station for many years now and, in fact, has been subject to a lot of scrutiny as a result of its high emissions," energy expert Chris Yelland said.

He said with half of the Kendal Power Station out of service, this was a loss of about 1,800 megawatts of generation capacity.

Eskom is yet to communicate the extent to which the incident will impact the national grid.

"The supply and demand situation is going to be very tight. Whether it's going to be enough to push us over the edge, I don't know yet, but it certainly depends on how much other generators are out of service at the same time."

The power utility said unit 2 and 3 would return to service during the course of this week.

Just last month, an explosion occurred at the Medupi Power Plant due to inadequate purging of hydrogen. That probe also remains under way.

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