Medupi is pictured in this file photo by Reuters.

Johannesburg - Alstom SA, the French maker of power plants and trains, is seeking additional time from South African utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd to complete contractual work on the Medupi coal-fired plant.

“Alstom has requested an extension of time under the contract provision to cater for delays in site access,” Isabelle Tourancheau, media relations manager at Alstom, said in a e-mailed response to queries today.

The Medupi plant is set to be Eskom’s fourth-biggest and is scheduled to start producing electricity at the end of the year.

The company, supplier of 95 percent of South Africa’s power, is grappling with strikes and faults for the 91.2 billion-rand ($9.96 billion) project. Alstom’s installation of its boiler protection system is lagging behind, according to the company.

The subsystem “has suffered some delays due to late availability of inputs and some technicalities which took longer to develop than antipated,” Tourancheau said.

“This delay does not affect the critical path of the Medupi project but is closely monitored by the Eskom project team since it is a key component to start electricity production in December.”

Hilary Joffe, a spokeswoman at Eskom, declined to comment on the delays at the site, saying it is “back to normal” in an e-mailed response to queries.

Engineer Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd. will be discussing the details “with regards to the lost time” at Medupi with the utility, the compamy’s spokesman Ed Jardim said in an e-mail.

Alstom is based in Levallois-Perret near Paris. - Bloomberg News