Load Shedding 3.11.2014 05:00 am

Eskom working ‘round the clock’ to limit load shedding

The blue blocks indicate the alternative coal feed Eskom hopes to implement utilising trucks. Unit three can be fed from unit two, although that will only allow it to operate at 75% capacity. Unit 4 will be out of service for the time being. Eskom will use the opportunity to do the planned maintenance on it that was scheduled for the end of November. Picture: Moneyweb

The blue blocks indicate the alternative coal feed Eskom hopes to implement utilising trucks. Unit three can be fed from unit two, although that will only allow it to operate at 75% capacity. Unit 4 will be out of service for the time being. Eskom will use the opportunity to do the planned maintenance on it that was scheduled for the end of November. Picture: Moneyweb

South Africans will be faced with rolling blackouts this week after a 40m high coal silo collapsed at Eskom’s Majuba power station in Mpumalanga at midday on Saturday.

This comes after countrywide rolling black-outs were implemented from 8:00 to 22:00 on Sunday and a few weeks after power failures left parts of Gauteng without water for up to two weeks.

Eskom is working around the clock to adapt operations at Majuba and believes it  may be able to limit the load shedding to Monday night, Wednesday night and the whole of Thursday, provided nothing else goes wrong.


CLICK HERE FOR YOUR LOCAL LOAD SHEDDING SCHEDULE

FILE PICTURE: Electricity high voltage posts. Picture: Thinksctock

READ MORE:

JMPD calls for patience from motorists during power cuts

Eskom starts power cuts across SA on Sunday

Load shedding avoids blackout – Eskom

Majuba silo inspected in September – Eskom CEO


Newly appointed Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona on Sunday had a baptism of fire when he had to explain the collapse at a media briefing. After being criticised for releasing a statement shortly before 23:00 on Saturday about a crack in the silo, without any mention that it has actually collapsed about ten hours earlier, Matona said there was “no foul play” and committed the organisation to transparency.

Eskom executives said it is only the second time ever that a silo of this kind has collapsed anywhere in the world.  The silo is only about 13 years old and is supposed to have a design life of 50 years. The last civil digital inspection was done in September last year and it was found to be in good condition.

Eskom, together with the department of labour, will investigate the cause and hopes to finalise the investigation in the next three months.

Early indications are that there was a problem with the rebar in the concrete structure and the extent of corrosion discovered after the collapse is of great concern.

The other two silo’s are being fed from the collapsed one and they will also be properly inspected before placing any further load on it.

Eskom nevertheless said it is considered an isolated incident and there is no indication of sabotage.

Officials are now trying to arrange for permits to transport mobile coal feeders to the site and enable manual coal feed to four of Majuba’s six units. One mobile feeder is already on site and the other was expected on Sunday night.

The utility is also trying to source a further 60-70 trucks to move the coal on the site. These will be additional to the 500 odd trucks that deliver coal to Majuba daily.  Majuba does not have a dedicated mine and is dependent on coal being delivered by truck and by train.

Group Executive Thava Govender said this operation is very challenging as the site will be congested and space has to be found to stockpile the coal close to the other silo’s. He said Eskom actually has officials directing the traffic on site to prevent trucks colliding.

In pictures

The following slides from the Eskom presentation show how the system works and where the collapse happened:

The coal is fed by a double conveyor belt from the stockyard to a central silo. The central silo feeds coal into units 3 and 4 and to two other silos on either side of it that respectively feed units 1 and 2 and 5 and 6. The green arrows indicate the coal feed.

The coal is fed by a double conveyor belt from the stockyard to a central silo. The central silo feeds coal into units 3 and 4 and to two other silos on either side of it that respectively feed units 1 and 2 and 5 and 6. The green arrows indicate the coal feed. Picture: Moneyweb

The coal is fed by a double conveyor belt from the stockyard to a central silo. The central silo feeds coal into units 3 and 4 and to two other silos on either side of it that respectively feed units 1 and 2 and 5 and 6. The green arrows indicate the coal feed. Picture: Moneyweb

The central silo, market with a red circle, collapsed which disrupted the whole supply system.

The central silo, market with a red circle, collapsed which disrupted the whole supply system. Picture: Moneyweb

The central silo, market with a red circle, collapsed which disrupted the whole supply system. Picture: Moneyweb

The blue blocks indicate the alternative coal feed Eskom hopes to implement utilising trucks. Unit three can be fed from unit two, although that will only allow it to operate at 75% capacity. Unit 4 will be out of service for the time being. Eskom will use the opportunity to do the planned maintenance on it that was scheduled for the end of November.

– This article first appeared on Moneyweb.co.za

 

today in print