Medupi start-up delayed to mid-2014

By: Terence Creamer | 8th July 2013 | Engineering News

State-owned power utility Eskom confirmed on Monday that it would not be in a position to meet the end of year deadline for the flow of first power from the Medupi power station.

CEO <strong>Brian Dames</strong> reported that, following an independent assessment and fresh delays to the control and instrumentation contract, a new, “realistic”, timeframe had been set for the second half of 2014.

The power station was meant to supply first power to the grid by December 2013, a deadline reaffirmed as non-negotiable earlier this year by Public Enterprises Minister <strong>Malusi Gigaba</strong>.

Dames also confirmed that the cost of the project had increased from R91.2-billion to R105-billion, excluding interest during construction. In 2008, when the main boiler, turbine and civil contracts had been placed, Medupi’s cost was estimated at R87-billion and was revised to R91.2-billion in June 2012.


No new Medupi, Kusile labour deal yet, but progress reported

Terence Creamer | 31 May 2013 | Engineering News

Power utility Eskom, its contractors and trade unions representing workers at the Medupi and Kusile power-station project sites have not been able to conclude a new labour agreement by the end of May as initially hoped. However, Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said on Friday that significant progress had been made and that a deal could be finalised by the end of next week.

The talks, which are being facilitated by mediators, have been convened in an effort to renegotiate the troublesome project labour agreements (PLAs) and replace these with new ‘partnership agreements’.

The PLAs have been blamed for labour strife on both sites, with the Medupi project, in Limpopo, having been particularly strike prone – the site was closed for 10 weeks earlier in the year. Continue reading

Economic and social impact of infrastructure roll-out programme: briefing by Eskom and Transnet

PMG | 28 May 2013.

Date of Meeting:28 May 2013
Chairperson:Mr P Maluleke (ANC)

Eskom and Transnet briefed the Committee on progress made on the infrastructure roll-out program.

Eskom said that the funding for its build programme had been finalised. These infrastructure projects would lead to the creation of 40 000 jobs and an increase in the local supply of goods and services, as 50% of the budget would be spent locally. The Kriel and Duvha power stations had been refurbished. The delays in commissioning Medupi and Kusile power stations were because of logistics, the quality of boiler welds and the use of low grade steel in boiler manufacture. Continue reading

Progress being made on new labour deal for Medupi, Kusile

Terence Creamer | 23 May 2013 | Engineering News

Progress is being made on the overhaul of the problematic project labour agreement (PLA) at the Medupi and Kusile power-station sites, in Lephalale and Emalahleni respectively, with Eskom still optimistic that a new deal could be struck before the end of May.

However, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has warned that its attention could be diverted from the negotiations, owing to recent threats by one of the contractors on site to dismiss some of its members following a recent confrontation at the strike-prone Medupi site.

Continue reading

Gigaba urges Eskom linchpin to keep powering on

Lynley Donnelly | 09 May 2013 | M&G Online

After a spate of leadership upheavals at key parastatals, Malusi Gigaba, the public enterprises minister, said on Wednesday he had written to Eskom’s board, backing its efforts to keep financial director Paul O’Flaherty on at the power utility.

O’Flaherty announced his resignation late last year, shortly after a mass exit by the erstwhile SAA board as well as its former chief executive and other executives. O’Flaherty’s decision to step down came amid concerns over the state’s increased involvement in the management of parastatals.

O’Flaherty is seen as central to the delivery of Eskom’s R350-billion capital expansion programme, which includes the construction of the new Medupi and Kusile power stations. Continue reading

Numsa wants centralised wage talks for Medupi, Kusile and Ingula

Sarah Evans | 15 April 2013 | M&G

National Union of Metal Workers SA has proposed one centralised negotiation for wage disputes at Eskom’s Medupi, Kusile and Ingula projects

Workers returned to the Eskom’s Kusile mega power station plant on Monday as unions prepare for a week of talks aimed at resolving an ongoing labour dispute.

Workers downed tools on Thursday citing a breakdown in talks over food, accommodation and other working conditions, sparking fears of a prolongued labour dispute mirroring that at Kusile’s twin station, Medupi.

Workers are also unhappy at being accommodated near a sewerage plant.

National Union of Metal Workers South Africa’s (Numsa) national basic metals and energy sector coordinator, Stephen Nhlapo, said a committee of stakeholders would hold talks throughout the week in an effort to speed up negotiations. He said all workers were on site on Monday having returned on the understanding that negotiations were under way.

Meanwhile, Numsa wants a central document to guide the employment conditions of all construction industry workers, as the government embarks on its multibillion-rand infrastructure development build.

Nhlapo said the proposal, which would centralise working conditions on both public and private sector projects, would be put to Numsa’s membership at its shopstewards bargaining council meeting this week.

Nhlapo said the union hoped to pre-empt the outbreak of pocketed labour unrest on construction projects, thereby speeding up construction. Medupi, for example, is 18 months behind schedule.

The union also hopes to talk stakeholders into centralising talks at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, Eskom’s pumped storage programme in KwaZulu-Natal. Nhlapo said workers’ complaints were the same at all three projects and that there was no need to hold three separate sets of negotiations to resolve the complaints.

On Wednesday, it is hoped that subcontractors, who are not involved in all three projects, will agree to centralised talks, he said.

Meanwhile, “95%” of workers have returned to the Medupi site in Limpopo following 10 weeks of labour disputes, according to Numsa. Nhlapo said only minor issues relating to workers’ conditions remained to be ironed out on site. These included what was to happen to workers who were suspended during the strike action, he said.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba visited the Medupi site on Thursday for an inspection. He remained adamant that the plant would be operational by December.


Medupi labour deal to be overhauled as Eskom recommits to December start date

Terence Creamer | 11 April 2013 | Engineering News

State-owned electricity utility Eskom has agreed with labour and contractors at the strike-prone Medupi coal-fired power station project, in Lephalale, Limpopo, to renegotiated the project labour agreement (PLA), admitting the current arrangement “was not working” at the site, which was closed for a ten-week stretch earlier this year owing to labour unrest.

The PLA would be replaced by a “partnering arrangement”, which should be concluded by the end of May and was communicated on Thursday as part of a broader commitment to the delivery of first power from Medupi’s first unit, or Unit 6, by December.

Labour agreements at the Kusile power station site, in Mpumalanga, where work disruptions had also taken place during the course of the week, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage project, in KwaZulu-Natal, would also be renegotiated. Continue reading