Johannesburg - South African power utility Eskom said on Monday the first power from its new Medupi plant would hit the grid in the second half of next year, a delay of at least six months caused by labour unrest and “underperformance” by contractors.
The delay is likely to put more pressure on the national grid, which already this year has sometimes operated with a buffer of less than 1 percent of its capacity.
“The target date of December 2013 is unlikely to be achieved. A more realistic target date for first power from Unit 6 is the second half of 2014,” Eskom chief executive Brian Dames told a news conference.
Dames said once the first unit of Medupi was online, the remaining five units will start at intervals and the entire power station was expected to be fully commissioned by 2017.
Eskom said the delay will raise the cost of Medupi to 105 billion rand ($10 billion) from 91.2 billion, but this will not have an impact on electricity tariffs.