ABB wins $25 million order to upgrade South African power plants

Innovative medium-voltage technology delivers safe, reliable power

Zurich, Switzerland, 2 May, 2006 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, said today it has signed a frame agreement worth a total of $25 million to supply medium-voltage switchgear and protection units for two 1,200 megawatt power plants owned by the South African utility, Eskom.

ABB will design, manufacture, test, install and commission new medium-voltage switchgear and protection technology for Eskom’s Kriel and Grootvlei power stations, in Mpumalanga province in the northeast of the country.

The Kriel agreement also includes generator and transformer protection systems, so the plant can continue to operate in the event of faults and abnormal service conditions. It is one of the largest contracts for medium-voltage products ever won by ABB.

“This is an excellent example of how innovative technology combined with short delivery times creates customer value,” said Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB’s Power Products division.

“ABB’s Unigear air insulated switchgear platform was developed to meet global standards, both in terms of electrical and safety requirements. Our switchgear product lines come with fully integrated software design and tendering tools, resulting in faster equipment delivery times,” he added. The products will be manufactured in ABB’s factory in South Africa. The order was booked in the first quarter 2006.

ABB will initially install about 500 switchgear panels at the Kriel station, and about 300 panels at the Grootvlei station. Grootvlei was commissioned in 1969, Kriel in 1979. The overall refurbishing of the plants will extend the operational life of each by 20 years.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 105,000 people.

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