Power Transformers Divisional News – Kusile Unit Transfromers

Kusile Unit Transfromers


kusile-schematic-pt-feb-2011-bigAward to ACTOM of prized Kusile unit transformers contract results in multiple local development benefits

Eskom’s new Kusile power station currently under construction near Delmas in Mpumalanga is to be fitted with locally designed and manufactured unit transformers produced by ACTOM group company ACTOM Power Transformers.

The capability of the company to manufacture unit transformers flows directly from substantial extensions it has undertaken in recent years at its Wadeville, Germiston, plant to both increase its total production capacity and extend the upper power limit of its product to 160 MVA at 132 kV, from 45 MVA at 132 kV previously.

The R215-million five-year turnkey contract Eskom has awarded to ACTOM Power Systems, the ACTOM group’s electrical infrastructure project management and construction company, incorporates design, production and supply by ACTOM Power Transformers of 13 unit transformers – two per generator unit, plus one spare. They are specified with dual secondary windings and rated at 110/55/55 MVA and 22/15,75/15,75 kV.

The unit transformers – the first to be produced by the company – comprise the largest portion of the contract, which also consists of the provision of the associated earthing system and secondary protection that includes on-line gas analysis, a transformer explosion prevention system and an emulsifying deluge system.

The contract came into effect in early-January this year and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2015. ACTOM Power Systems is due to commence installation of equipment for Kusile’s first generator unit in April 2012 and will commence work on the others at eight-monthly intervals thereafter.

“ACTOM Power Transformers’ capability to design and manufacture the unit transformers was the single most important factor behind Eskom’s decision to award us the contract in the face of stiff competition from other contenders – most of them foreign companies,” commented John McClure, ACTOM Power Systems’ General Manager.

Another key factor that favoured the selection of the local company over foreign manufacturers was that it provided Eskom with additional scope for setting local content requirements and applying the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGI-SA) provisions that Eskom and other parastatal bodies and public sector organisations subscribe to as part of their conditions of contract.

“In its original tender conditions for the contract Eskom set a local content target of 10%, this being a realistic target for a foreign supplier, as in that instance the vast bulk of the work would be done outside the country. However, with us being awarded the contract, a new local content target of a minimum of 55% was agreed to and consequently the ASGI-SA commitments that apply are also more far-reaching than if the contract had gone to a foreign company,” McClure explained.

“Although 55% local content has been set as the minimum threshold, we expect to surpass this figure by a healthy margin,” he added.

The ASGI-SA requirements include training of people in the Nkangala district in which Kusile is situated and providing employment by channelling work linked to the contract to local black-owned small business enterprises (SBE’s) and black women organisations (BWO’s) wherever possible.

“Between ACTOM Power Systems and ACTOM Power Transformers we have undertaken to train a total of 20 people with a view to employing many of them within the group in the longer term. In addition, we are committed to allocating a substantial amount of work to small black business enterprises, several of which will be sourced from the Nkangala district, which will specifically nurture entrepreneurship and target employment creation. In so doing, we intend to plough back at grassroots level some of the benefits that accrue from locally executed engineering works,” McClure said.

“This cascade effect illustrates the potential magnitude of human resource development opportunities in the form of job creation, entrepreneurship and skills development, with eventual meaningful benefits to the economy as a whole, that could be achieved if infrastructural management and development enterprises – comprising parastatals, government institutions, municipalities and private sector companies – made greater use of local manufacturers and suppliers.

“As is evident in this instance, the development of local industry capacity and expertise is symbiotic to contributing towards the country’s socio-economic imperatives and vice-versa. Far too frequently this link is not recognised, so attempts to address these issues are made in isolation and invariably little headway is achieved. When they are tackled in tandem then the agendas of the state and private enterprise can be aligned to make a real difference in the longer term,” McClure concluded.

ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is the largest manufacturer and distributor of electrical equipment in South Africa, employing about 6 000 people and with an annual order intake in excess of R5bn. It is a black empowered company with 27operating units, 22 production facilities and 25 distribution centres throughout South Africa.


ACTOM partners Alstom France for environmental equipment and in serving the maintenance, upgrade and retrofit market for larger boilers, as well as for railway transport activities.

ACTOM holds exclusive distribution, technology and representation rights for Alstom Grid (formerly the Transmission business of Areva T&D) in Southern Africa and maintains management, technical and commercial links to Alstom Grid business units in Europe.

Following the acquisition by Schneider Electric of the global Distribution business of Areva T&D, the distribution, technology and representation agreements that existed between ACTOM and Areva will remain in place until such time as a new agreement has been concluded.

ACTOM formerly traded under the name Alstom South Africa and re-branded to ACTOM in September 2009.
For further information contact John McClure, ACTOM Power Systems
Private Bag 1, Bramley 2018
Tel (011) 430-8700 Fax (011) 887-9009
E-mail john.mcclure@actom.co.za

Date:  February 10, 2011.

Caption:  A schematic diagram of a Kusile power station generator electrical supply depicting the redundant units transformers and ancillary equipment to be supplied by ACTOM.