Medupi Unit 6 was successfully synchronised to the national power grid for the first time on Monday, 2 March 2015, and is currently being progressively tested and optimised to enable it to join the Eskom Generation fleet as a significant contributor to the country’s constrained power supply.Medupi consists of six units of approximately 800 MW each, for a grand total of 4800 MW, which is 12% of Eskom’s total installed capacity. Eskom is pulling out all stops to ensure that the completion of the remaining five units is not hampered by technical or labour issues.
The synchronisation process will take time to ensure that the power it delivers is stable, consistent and reliable. This is also to ensure that the unit is safe to operate, and will perform exactly as designed for the next fifty years. From its first synchronisation, the unit has been delivering 400 MW, but because of the testing and combustion optimisation, this power is delivered intermittently, and this will continue until full power (800 MW) is reached around end-May 2015. Further testing and fine-tuning will be performed until the Project is satisfied that the system is fully operable and reliable for final handover.
The construction site was evacuated on 25 March 2015 while Eskom engaged contractors, who are employers, on how to restore stability and return the site back for normal production as well as the action to be taken against participants in the illegal industrial action. Contractors have since evaluated their position on the evidence gathered and are executing their plan to deal with their employees that actively participated in the unprotected industrial action. They have further advised the affected trade unions of the action being taken against these employees. It is Eskom’s expectation that the contractors together with their unions will resolve the matter sooner rather than later.
The number of affected workers is 1 700 while the total complement for the construction project is around 14 000.
Eskom will meet with the unions to discuss its discontent at last week’s incident as Eskom has invested significant sum of time and resources on the Partnership Agreement (PA) for the purposes of addressing the plight of workers and achieving peace and stability on the Medupi and Kusile projects. Following the signing of the PA, work stoppages were brought down to a minimum and workers benefiting out of better working conditions.
The PA further created engagement platforms for all parties to the partnership to resolve areas of difference on the Employee Relations front, be it even on an urgent basis. This would therefore create conducive conditions for partners to work with each other in achieving peace, stability and production on the projects. Eskom expects all the parties involved to double their efforts in order to maintain long-term site stability and achieve desired levels of productivity.