The Duvha power
station at night
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 28 March 2011 – The explosion at Eskom’s Duvha power station in Mpumalanga last month has forced the power utility to delay maintenance at other power stations, leading to concerns of further power cuts during the next two years.

The blast occurred on 9 February during a test on the unit, and Fin24 reports that the real extent of the damage only came to light when energy analyst Chris Yelland published the pictures. This week Yelland estimated that the damage could cost anything between R2 and R3 billion.

The damage to the Duvha turbine generator happened while Eskom was preparing to relieve pressure on the national electricity supply. The utility was preparing to launch the first units at its Medupi power station in Limpopo by the end of next year.

Coal-fired Medupi was expected to generate 700MW for the national grid, but the explosion at ¬Duvha has erased 600MW from the grid. This could typically supply electricity to about 200 000 middle-class domestic households.

A team of professionals is trying to find the reason for the explosion at the Duvha power station.

“Power generators are being forced to go the extra mile and they could fail because they are not being maintained,” Yelland said.

Eskom head of communications Hillary Joffe confirmed that the damage was extensive. But she could not reveal when the parastatal would complete the investigation.

Joffe said the electricity supply would be tight for the next two years. She pleaded with consumers and industry to implement energy-saving measures.

She said it would take 18 months for Eskom to fix the damage.