Eskom working with ‘considerable coincidences’, probe launched: CEO

18 November 2021 - 11:03
Eskom group CEO Andre de Ruyter. File image.
Eskom group CEO Andre de Ruyter. File image.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

A forensic team is investigating the circumstances surrounding some of the breakdowns at Eskom units.

This was disclosed by Eskom group CEO André de Ruyter on Thursday, at a briefing on the state of the grid.

“It has been an interesting 24 hours with considerable 'coincidences' at stations,” he said.

“We are working around the clock and working against some considerable coincidences that could have had much worse impacts if it wasn’t for the good response from the Eskom team,” he added.

When you have the simultaneous units trip like this, it certainly does arouse suspicions.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter

Referring to an incident at Matimba that led to the shutdown of units 1, 2 and 3, De Ruyter said: “We have difficulty in believing that this is entirely coincidental, so we have dispatched the forensic team to site. They will be investigating.”

“We will also be deploying additional security to the site to ensure that we can protect our assets.

“When you have the simultaneous units trip like this, it certainly does arouse suspicions.”

He said they have no hard evidence of sabotage at the this stage but it’s “certainly coincidental” that these incidents have taken place at the time they did.

De Ruyter said they are also investigating an incident at the Lethabo unit on Wednesday night. He said the incident could have led to the unit shutting down too as a tower collapsed into another line, disrupting the coal supply into the station.

“We are investigating. The consequences of this disruption would have been that after about six hours Lethabo would have run out of coal and would then have to shut down.” He said a third supply was devised from the Free State and supply was restored in the morning.

“It’s quite an interesting incident, a tower collapsing immediately prior to peak in such a way as to render both lines inoperable and taking out that double redundancy,” he said.

Though the teams were successful in returning a number of units to service, he said Medupi 3, which had returned, tripped again. 

“Planned maintenance units on outage amounts to 3,910MW, we have full unplanned losses of 8,900MW and partial losses of 4,901MW, which gives you total unplanned losses of 13,991MW, which is very high.”

Despite the challenges, De Ruyter said the outlook for the weekend was stable.

He also announced that the current round of stage 2 load-shedding is expected to be lifted at 9pm on Thursday, then resume at stage 1 on Friday morning.

“This is subject to the units returning that we have indicated: Matimba 2, Matla 6 and Tutuka 4. Matimba will be returned to service later, once we have finished checking the transformer.

“We have been able to recover both our dams and diesel levels,” he added. 

He said the power utility will issue a confirmatory statement on the load-shedding outlook in the afternoon. 

TimesLIVE


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