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Scopa to visit Eskom's costly, 'poor performing' new power stations

Scopa is concerned with the performance of public entity Eskom
Scopa is concerned with the performance of public entity Eskom
Image: Eskom

Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) plans to conduct oversight visits to Kusile and Medupi power stations which have been bedevilled by delays, ballooning costs and design problems.

Scopa said on Friday that it had been “concerned about Eskom’s performance” for the past few years.

“The entity has received qualified audits two years in a row, in 2016/17 and 2017/18. During that time, Eskom incurred a loss of R2.3bn, R19.6bn in irregular expenditure and a debt of R380bn in 2017/18. In addition to financial losses, there have been power outages that have had a negative impact on the economy,” Scopa said in a statement.

“The committee has noted that a major contributing cause of the current outages is the poor performance of Eskom’s two new power stations, Medupi and Kusile, which were intended to come on-stream with additional capacity and provide a buffer for Eskom’s existing coal fleet.

"The building of the coal-fired power stations, which started in 2007 and 2008, has been hit by cost overruns, poor engineering design and allegations of corruption.”

Medupi’s first unit to supply power to the grid was supposed to be completed in 2012 and the remaining units were to be completed in 2015. The projected completion date is now 2021.

Kusile is facing similar delays and its completion date has been pushed back to 2022/23.

Scopa said it would meet the Eskom board on Thursday next week, directly after its oversight visits on Tuesday and Wednesday.

South Africa will be vulnerable to load-shedding at the end of August, when Eskom ramps up its plant-maintenance programme.

This is the view of energy expert Ted Blom, after Eskom board member Nelisiwe Magubane’s warning on Wednesday that an acceleration in economic growth in SA could trigger power cuts, TimesLIVE reported earlier on Friday.