Eskom cuts power after Kusile unit trips

Eskom power stations have not been maintained properly over the years.
Kusile is one of two new mammoth power stations which have suffered massive cost overruns and technical problems. Picture: Moneyweb

Eskom said it would cut electricity on Thursday after a unit at its faulty Kusile power station tripped, adding to a shortfall of generating capacity.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the country’s power, has suffered a series of unplanned breakdowns at its creaking coal-fired power station fleet which limit its ability to power Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Kusile is one of two new mammoth power stations which have suffered massive cost overruns and technical problems.

Eskom said in a statement that it planned to cut 1 000 megawatts (MW) on a rotational basis countrywide from 0900 GMT, likely until 2100 GMT, a month after implementing some of the worst power cuts in several years.

Eskom’s problems are a major challenge for President Cyril Ramaphosa as they have shaken investor confidence and threatened to stymie efforts to rekindle growth before a parliamentary election in May.

Andrew Etzinger, a senior Eskom official, told Reuters that around 12 000 MW of Eskom’s roughly 45 000 MW capacity was offline on Thursday because of unplanned outages at some of the company’s coal-fired power stations.

“Insufficient maintenance in recent years means many of our coal power stations are experiencing failures. Supplies of diesel are also under pressure,” Etzinger said. Eskom burns diesel when it is unable to generate sufficient power from its fleet of mainly coal plants.

Ramaphosa’s government has promised to inject R23 billion a year over the next three years to shore up Eskom’s balance sheet and appointed a team of experts to come up with a plan to improve the firm’s operational performance.

($1 = 14.4391 rand) 

Get access to Moneyweb's financial intelligence and support quality journalism for only
R63/month or R630/year.
Sign up here, cancel at any time.


You must be signed in to comment.


If a power station can have such technical issues, when it’s still brand spanking new….what will the scope of technical problems (not challenges) be say 10-20yrs down the line?!

Should Eskom still be allowed to control more than 90% of SA’s power generation? I think NOT!

(…but it works great for cadre deployment)

All as a result of the ANC and its failed policies.

Micheal not to worry pal these power stations won’t even last 5 years.

I have portion of a windfarm on my property. It has been operational for 5 years, in that time the turbine outputs have been rising at about 7% a year. I get the figures, so the wind is blowing more each year. By the way the wind is free!!!!
I have heard on good authority that Eskom have a battery storage system they want to install and test to store excess energy to be released when needed.

Absolutely fantastic, your good story to tell! 🙂 May this inspire the rest of us to go solar or wind eventually.
Yes, it’s costly….but one day, when one crunch the numbers, one will realise Eskom cost will even be higher than solar/wind. A time will come where the latter will be selected on pure cost-accounting principles…a no-brainer.

I work close to ankerlig ( atlantis, homeland,wc), so i can see the turbines being fired up…and the heat wave form their stacks
Yesterday 16h00 bellows of smoke came form turbine stacks, implying yesterday peak there was a problem already…this am all 9 stacks seem to be operating …( at least we em tax payers filled the diesel tanks).

There have been many many a time that there are loadshedding with all the turbines standing ….good management by em cadres for sure !!

Thanks for the info!
Is there any coal-based power generation happening around Atlantis – isn’t it all nuclear?

Koeberg – Nuclear +- 5 km away
Ankerlig – 7 x diesel gusslers

Did someone burn sub standard coal or perhaps leave a toolbox in the turbine housing.

Van Riebeeck destroyed their generators when he landed in the Cape.

We need a renewable energy back-up solution to this Eskom disaster and we need it NOW… all this beautiful sunshine could be working in our favour. Don’t tell me the money isn’t there… I am certain we could get outside parties to invest in renewable infrastructure. Michael Bloomberg for one is very keen on it. This is absolutely unacceptable that S. Africa’s largest economy should be brought to its knees in this fashion.

I meant Africa’s largest economy (if we can still claim that!).

Maybe with all these intermittent blackouts the uneducated supporters of the ANC will cast their vote more appropriately

When you look for someone or something to blame for power shortage, it is a “very large unit” (at Kusile), but when you want to blame the project costs, you blame the external designers and state that the unit is only capable of a small portion of its nameplate capacity? Now which one is it at the moment? A limping new unit not yet in full production, or a general problem of mismanaging a series of what used to be good power stations?

Eskom (and the ANC government) should start making up their minds, or rather, come clean that they cannot manage: not a power grid and its machinery that not so many years ago was top notch and fully functional, and not the projects to add new ones. It the management and integration that’s the problem, not the engineers as such – provided you allow the appropriate engineers to do the job. And stop paying dollar-hungry overseas engineers and managers that cost three times the price and ten times their worth and accept experienced South African engineers and provide them with equal opportunities – and see what can be done. Wishful thinking, Cyril is as populistic as his predecessor and election day is coming up.

Get off the grid or as much off as affordable. The ANC cannot ever run a modern economy. Useless bunch out to grab the cash and to hell with the rest

End of comments.





Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: