• Just a day after Eskom discovered two sabotage incidents at the Tutuka power plant, new suspicious acts took place.
  • Copper wires and reactor grounding conductors were removed from three units at the Hendrin power plant, leading to a refusal to run the units in the early hours of Friday.
  • The wrong oil was used on the unit in Duvha, which led to further delays with the return of the unit, which was decommissioned for more than five months.

Two more suspicious incidents at Eskom power plants on Thursday and Friday, just a day after Eskom confirmed two acts of sabotage at the Tutuka power plant, heightened fears that an organized sabotage campaign was underway to prevent a load drop.

General view of the Tutuka power plant.

In the early hours of Friday, Eskom employees at the Hendrin power plant were unable to start the fifth unit, and after an inspection found that at night, copper shears were removed from the unit’s generator, as well as removed the reactor ground.

The same fate befell the second and sixth units.

READ | “Escabot sabotage is real” – someone with internal knowledge cut a vital cable at the Tutuka power plant

Officials suspected the theft, but it was unclear how the thief would be able to access Hendrina’s premises and have enough time to remove cables and reactors from the three units.

In another incident, the wrong oil was used for the second unit at the Duvha power plant, which means a further delay in the return of the 570-megawatt unit to operation.

The commissioning of the 2nd Duha Unit (RTS) was delayed by almost six months due to a number of obvious errors that continued to delay the completion of work on the power plant.

Further errors

Other problems that hindered the repair include improper installation of the valves and additional errors that caused repeated delays.

Eskom Group CEO Andre de Ruiter confirmed the incidents on Friday.

He said:

We are investigating sabotage incidents in Tututsu and other suspicious incidents in Hendrin and Doug. It is important for the public to be aware that these incidents are the difference between what Eskom was forced to introduce a load reset, and sufficient generation capacity to prevent it.

On Thursday, News24 reported that an important power cable had been cut in Tututsu. The cable was in a cable rack along with several others that were unharmed and delayed the power plant from returning Unit 5 to operation for several days as it took time to find the cut cable.

Eskom also revealed on Thursday in a statement that the second incident took place in Tututsu, where a section of the control air pipeline was cut with a power tool and the pipe bend was removed.

The Energy Service said:

Eskom believes that this is a deliberate act of sabotage by someone who had access to a site where only employees have access, and knows quite well the security of the area.

Eskom said it was the fifth sabotage incident since March 2021, which was all reported to police.

News24 reported in November 2021 that the steel poles on the poles near the Letaba power plant had been cut just before the evening peak, and the pole was shifted to a backup power line adjacent to the pole, which led to electricity supply to land. hours, which almost led to an increase in load reset to the fifth stage.

State Enterprise Minister Provin Gordhan, speaking during a presentation of the department’s vote on the budget, also referred to the incident with Hendrina.

“We need to fight corruption, sabotage and, indeed, sabotage, both from state-owned enterprises and from counter-revolutionary circles and criminals outside state-owned enterprises. on which an important cable was cut, which is needed to run the unit, which was under repair and synchronized with the rest of the system, “said Gordon.

Gordhan clarified that the flexible copper cables and earthing busbars of the reactor had been “stolen” by someone, “obviously working inside” the power plant.

The Minister said:

This is what engineers call single failure points – in other words, if there are problems with these buses and cables, you can’t connect this unit, which is ready to be connected to electricity, to the grid.

“These, among other discoveries that have taken place in the last few days, are corruption with oil supply, cut cable at another power plant – all this is directly related to the drop in load we feel today, among other things. operational issues, ”he added.

Eskom has been asked to provide more details and this story will be updated as soon as more comments are received.

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