National power utility Eskom has issued a timetable for the linking of Medupi power station to the national grid in a bid to reassure all stakeholders that the project is on track.

The utility expects to connect the first of six units at the new coal-fired plant on December 24 when power demand will be light, with most of the country’s mines shut for the seasonal holiday.

Eskom said in a statement: “It will take several months to ramp up to full and stable power as part of the standard commissioning and optimisation process.”

Eskom has never given a precise date for when Medupi would synchronise with the grid, beyond saying it would do so by the end of 2014, a full year after its previous deadline.

South Africa’s Opposition Party the Democratic Alliance has put consistent pressure on Eskom to surrender contracts relating to delays at the Medupi and Kusile power stations.

When it is fully operational, the unit will feed almost 800 MW to the grid and when the other five units come online, Medupi will generate almost 4,800 MW of power.