Scopa to visit Medupi, Kusile amid growing concerns

Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts will next week conduct oversight visits to Eskom's mega power stations Kusile and Medupi, according to a statement released on Friday.

The visit comes amid growing concerns about poor design, delays and cost overruns at the facilities, which were meant to ease the country's power supply constraints.

The committee, chaired by the IFP's Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said it had noted that poor performance of the two coal-fired power stations was a major contributing factor to power outages. 

"The building of the coal-fired power stations, which started in 2007 and 2008, has been hit by cost overruns, poor engineering design and allegations of corruption,"  the committee said. 

In April, Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza said construction on the Medupi and Kusile power stations would go ahead, as the cost of halting the projects would not benefit the economy. He estimated that it would cost R18bn to complete each power station.

"Initially, Medupi’s first unit to supply power to the grid was supposed to be completed in 2012 and the remaining units were to be completed in 2015. The projected completion date is now 2021," said Scopa. The initial completion date for Kusile was 2014 and the projected completion date is now 2022.

Scopa will meet with the Eskom’s board and executive management after the oversight visits.

The costs for the plants have already escalated to over R300bn, as revealed this year by the Department of Public Enterprises before a parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

Once completed, Medupi power station, which is located near Lephalale in Limpopo province, is expected to consist of six units, with an installed capacity of 4 764MW. Kusile, which near Witbank in Mpumalanga, will also have six units, with an installed capacity of 4 800 MW.