Eskom puts R1.7 billion in its pocket, instead of fixing power station

Eskom has put R1.7 billion in its pocket, instead of fixing Unit 3 at the Duvha power station which was damaged when a boiler exploded in March 2014.

The Rapport reported that instead of fixing Unit 3, the insurance money was placed in Eskom’s current account and used for salaries and other expenses.

Eskom said the unit was damaged “as a result of over pressurisation of the boiler furnace”.

“The furnace pressure had increased beyond the tolerance limit, resulting in a Class 5 explosion which led to the loss of a 600MW unit,” said Eskom.

Former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona explained in December 2014 that a combination of factors caused the boiler explosion.

Following damage to the conveyor belt between Middelburg mine and Duvha in December 2013, Duvha changed its coal source – resulting in a different type, grade, and quality of coal being fed into the boiler.

When put into the boiler, this coal produced more residue. The build-up of residue in the boiler was being managed by the power station.

“However, in conjunction with this there was a build-up of unburnt fuel and insufficient oxygen levels in the boiler,” he said.

“This factor, coupled with the condition of the boiler and operating practice, resulted in the failure.”

Tender in question

The tender to fix the unit was awarded to Chinese firm Dongfang, which was R1 billion more expensive than rival bids.

Dongfang big R4 billion to fix the unit, while General Electric’s bid was R3 billion and Murray & Roberts’ bid was R3.3 billion.

Eskom also provided Dongfang with an advanced payment of 15%, instead of the agreed 10%.

According to the City Press, it was the Gupta-linked firm Trillian which made the recommendation to use Dongfang after an “initial risk assessment”.

In June 2017, General Electric and Murray & Roberts were granted an interdict to stop the Eskom tender.

Now read: Eskom needs R20 billion to keep the lights on

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Eskom puts R1.7 billion in its pocket, instead of fixing power station