Eskom Has Contractors’ Assurances Medupi Deadline Will Be Met

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which supplies 95 percent of South Africa’s power, says it has guarantees from two contractors that its 91.2 billion rand ($9.8 billion) Medupi plant will be operational by the end of the year.

Hitachi Kaefer and Alstom SA gave the state-owned power utility “assurances in writing that they will deliver in time to enable the December deadline to be met,” spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said in an e-mailed response to questions today. “We are doing our utmost as Eskom to make the December date for first synchronization to the grid,” she said.

The 4,800 megawatt plant, which is grappling with strikes and faults, is being built to alleviate power shortages in Africa’s biggest economy that led to blackouts and halted mines for at least five days in January 2008.

“We have asked contractors for mitigation plans,” Joffe said.

Paul O’Flaherty, Eskom’s finance director and head of group capital, will be ’’spending more time’’ at the site as requested by the board and the chief executive, she said.