Medupi's inactive unit 4 affecting power station's performance, says manager

Unit four, which contributes 720 megawatts to the national grid, has not been operational since an explosion in August last year.

Eskom's Medupi power station. Picture: Eskom.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom’s Medupi power station has applied to Eskom's national management for its efficiency to be measured independently of one of its own units.

Unit four, which contributes 720 megawatts to the national grid, has not been operational since an explosion in August last year.

Officials estimate that it will cost R2.5 billion to refurbish the unit, most of which will be covered by insurance.

Of the six generating units at Eskom's Medupi power station, units one, two, and three continue to operate at full capacity, units five and six at partial capacity and unit four at zero.

While unit one has been the best performing in this financial year, meeting the 92% availability level required, units two and three have also been rather close at about 88 and 90% respectively.

Medupi’s acting general manager, Zweli Witbooi, said that unit four’s inactivity affected the entire performance of the power station.

"When we report on the improvements, those improvements are not being seen because unit four, which is not related to construction, is a negative influence so as a result, as well as for morale, when we get measured, even our performance contracts get measured according to these numbers," Witbooi said.

A contract for the refurbishment of unit four will be awarded by the end of the month and officials hope to have repairs begin next month.