Silo collapse strains Eskom's power system

7 November 2014

Eskom says that its power system is likely to come under severe pressure following the collapse of a coal silo at its second-largest power plant.

A silo at the Majuba power plant cracked and collapsed on 1 November 2014, affecting coal supplies to all six units at the station and resulting in the loss of 1800 MW of capacity.

The South African utility implemented load shedding procedures as a result of the incident, but said on November 3 that the "risk of load shedding has reduced significantly and the prognosis for the week is better than expected".

It has already begun working to repair the damage to the plant. "Teams ... have been able to connect coal feeder units which have enabled us to ramp up the supply from 600 MW to 1200 MW," the utility said in a statement.

No injuries occurred during the incident. Eskom has appealed to its customers to reduce their electricity usage, particularly in the evenings.

The 4110 MW Majuba plant is the youngest commercially operated power plant in Eskom's fleet. Its three 10 000-ton coal storage silos were constructed in 1994.

The last visual inspection of the collapsed silo was conducted in September 2013 by an external specialist, says Eskom. In that inspection the silo was found to be in good condition.

Eskom has been battling low reserve margins caused by rising energy demand and a funding deficit for its capital expenditure programme.

In September the South African government agreed a support package for Eskom to help it raise more debt and continue its investment programme.

Sian Crampsie

Linkedin Linkedin   
Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.