Work resumes at Medupi

2012-09-20 10:18

Johannesburg - Construction of the 4 764 MW Medupi coal-fired power plant, meant to plug a dire electricity shortfall, was back to full speed on Thursday after workers returned following protests at the site, state-owned utility Eskom said.

Eskom is seeking to make up for the nearly two-week delay and ensure that the first of six units at the Medupi plant, already delayed by more than a year due to problems with boiler contracts, starts generating electricity late next year.

“Yesterday there were already more than 15 000 workers on site, so everything is back to normal,” Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said. “We are looking to make up for lost time.”

Some 17 000 workers are currently employed at Medupi.

Two weeks ago around 80 workers contracted by Murray & Roberts (M&R) and Grinaker-LTA, part of construction group Aveng, damaged some vehicles and equipment at the site in a protest about labour issues.

Eskom is walking a tightrope to keep power flowing to factories, mines and smelters that had to shut for several days four years ago when the national grid nearly collapsed, costing Africa’s biggest economy billions of dollars in lost output.

Supply of electricity is expected to remain tight until Medupi and another coal-fired plant, Kusile, become operational.

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