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Majuba increases electricity

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The risk of blackouts was low on Thursday due to the increased generating capacity at the Majuba power station, Eskom said. It said the capacity at Majuba was now at 1400MW.

“More units from Majuba are due to be synchronised to the grid later today [Wednesday] with the potential of increasing generating capacity to 3200MW,” the power utility said in a statement.

“The recovery programme at the Majuba power station is proceeding well and has far exceeded our expectations. Teams are working 24/7 moving coal from stock piles to the conveyer belts which are the link to the generating units.”

Eskom said the system would remain constrained on Thursday.

“Our projections indicate similar constraints next week. As such, Eskom appeals to consumers to reduce their electricity usage throughout the day, but especially from 6pm to 10pm.”

Earlier Eskom said the power system was tight but manageable with no rolling blackouts expected.

“No load-shedding [is] expected as things stand,” spokesman Andrew Etzinger said.

“We are taking this week one day at a time, so no guarantees for tomorrow at this stage.”

A coal storage silo which stored over 10,000 tons of coal at the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga collapsed on Saturday, affecting coal supplies to all six units at the power station.

On Tuesday, trade union Solidarity said the silo had been showing signs of stress since January and Eskom had done nothing to correct the problem.
Etzinger said the silo was inspected last year.

Before the collapse, Majuba supplied 3600MW, roughly 10 percent of the country’s electricity capacity, Etzinger said on Sunday. Its capacity was reduced to 1800MW and then to 600MW. According to Eskom this had since been increased to 1200MW.

Eskom warned the collapse could cause rolling blackouts across the country. Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Michael said on Tuesday it had been widely reported that Eskom used wet coal.
This posed a serious danger as the wet coal caused a chemical reaction that placed extra pressure on a silo, she said.

“It is very plausible that the collapse of the silo, and the resulting national rolling blackout, was caused by negligence on the part of Eskom. This possibility needs to be thoroughly and transparently investigated.” SAPA

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