Power utility Eskom on May 19 confirmed an incident in which a cable was severed at the Tutuka power station this week while the power station was finalising preparations to return Unit 5 to service.
"The damage to the cable had the effect of delaying the unit’s return to service by three days, as it took some time to locate the fault.
"Once discovered, the cable was repaired in a short space of time. The return to service of Unit 5 was then resumed," Eskom said in a media release.
The utility further noted that, also this week, it was discovered that there was a station control air pressure drop and the same Unit 5 turbine systems, which consume control air for operation, were de-energised.
"It was later discovered that the control air pipe supplying the turbine systems had been cut with a power tool and the entire bend removed. Same was welded back on and the system charged with control air before being normalised. The unit is expected to return to service today," it added.
Eskom said it believes these were deliberate acts of sabotage by someone who had access to the site where only employees have access and knows the security features in the area quite well.
Eskom has laid criminal charges with the South African Police Service and its forensic team is assisting with the investigation.
This is the fifth incident of sabotage since March 2021, and all of these have been reported to the police.
"Eskom has employed measures to improve security at all its power stations in general and Tutuka power station in particular, where additional security personnel and smart technology have been introduced.
"While these measures have significantly improved security at Tutuka, including a reduction in cable theft incidents, it is to be noted that incidents such as this one serve as an opportunity to apply further improvements to securing the facility and the supply of electricity," the utility said.