Eskom operations 'disrupted' as 48 contractors test positive for Covid-19

Eskom’s Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Eskom says 48 of its contractors tested positive for Covid-19.
Eskom’s Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Eskom says 48 of its contractors tested positive for Covid-19.
Image: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

Power utility Eskom says Covid-19 has affected its operations at the Medupi power station, where 48 of 75 contractors have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Despite Eskom's stringent measures to manage the impact of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operations, we are experiencing some impact on operations, including our suppliers,” the company said in a statement.

“For example, at the Medupi power station we have 48 positive cases out of a pool of 75 contractors, which has negatively affected our ability to execute work as planned.”

Eskom implemented stage 1 and 2 load-shedding on Sunday and Monday due to its “constrained and vulnerable” system.

Frustrated by the power cuts, some accused Eskom of using Covid-19 as a scapegoat, while others questioned whether the utility has a permanent solution to its infrastructure problems.  

On Monday evening, the power utility announced that it would suspend the power cuts after an improvement in its capacity.

“Eskom is pleased to inform the public that load-shedding will be suspended from 23:00 tonight as the generation capacity has improved following the return of some operations to service,” the company said in a statement.

“Over the past 24-hours, Eskom teams have successfully returned two generation units each at Kusile [and] Kriel, and one at Tutuka power stations to service. Another two generation units are expected to return to service tomorrow while emergency generation reserves have also adequately recovered.”

Eskom urged the public to use electricity sparingly as its system is still “vulnerable and unpredictable”. 

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