- Eskom has appointed independent forensic experts to investigate the possibility of sabotage following two events that occurred earlier this week.
- A key electricity tower collapsed at Lethabo power station in a suspicious incident and shortly thereafter an extension cord was dropped on a transformer at the Matimba power station, which took out three power units.
- Eskom CEO André de Ruyter confirmed both incidents during a press briefing this morning.
“Both incidents are now being investigated by independent forensic experts to confirm possible attempts of sabotage,” said De Ruyter.
De Ruyter confirmed that Lethabo and Matimba are Eskom’s two top-performing power stations. De Ruyter says that earlier this week, a team who had been working on the cooler fans at Matimba dropped an extension cord on to the transformer of the station’s unit 2. A “flash” resulted, which tripped the station board and shut down all cooling to units 1, 2 and 3. “We have difficulty in believing this is entirely coincidental,” De Ruyter said.
“So, we have dispatched a forensic team to site. They will be investigating. We will also deploy additional security to site so that we can protect our assets. My fundamental point of departure has always been not to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence but when you have three simultaneous unit trips it certainly does arouse suspicion.”
Two distribution lines from Gauteng supply electricity to power the coal conveyors feeding coal to the Lethabo power station.
“At around 18:00, so immediately before evening peak, one of the towers collapsed in such a way that it fell on to the other line, and thereby rendered both those lines inoperable,” De Ruyter said. Lethabo would have run out of coal within six hours, and would have had to shut down. But in the early hours of Thursday, Eskom managed to secure additional power from the Free State to avoid this.” De Ruyter explained.
Link to video of full media briefing HERE
Author: Bryan Groenendaal