Cape storms: thousands still left without power

  • Record-setting storms in the Western Cape have left thousands without electricity confirms Eskom.
  • Similar bad weather has also affected power supply in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in recent days.
  • Western Cape officials are blaming climate change on rare rains and floods affecting South Africa.

Storms and inclement weather across South Africa’s coastline have caused major service interruption issues for Eskom. The country’s power utility has shared a number of announcements in the last 24 hours about faults experienced in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape on account of bad weather conditions.

Viral images and videos have been shared since the weekend of the unusually violent storms that have rocked the Western Cape that have damaged more than a thousand homes and left at least eight people dead. Eskom has indicated that around 15 000 customers in the province are yet to have electricity due to the weather damaging the utility’s infrastructure

“Eskom has intensified efforts to restore electricity supply to customers and has significantly reduced the number of customers without electricity to 15 000,” it says in an X announcement, claiming that it had managed to connect several thousands of people in just one day as there were around 82 000 people without power on Monday.

It says areas still affected by supply interruptions include Caledon, Greyton, Grabouw, Jagersbos, Kraaifontein, Worcester, Somerset West, surrounding areas and parts of Khayelitsha. The utility has exempted parts of the province from loadshedding in order to help disaster management efforts ongoing.

A further “major setback” was suffered by Eskom in the Eastern Cape, also brought about by inclement weather. An announcement published Tuesday tells of power interruptions in the province impacting Peddie, Cintsa, Butterworth and Centane areas within the Amathole District Municipality, as well as Lusikisiki, Tsolo, and Mthata within the OR Tambo District Municipality, as well as Mount Ayliff and Mount Frere within the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

The utility urges Eskom customers still without electricity to remain patient as it says it is working on restoration.

Windstorms in KZN have led to “extensive faults” in Eskom infrastructure according to a statement shared on Wednesday. Heavy wind in the province has affected supply to five substations in the Empangeni area, including Nseleni, Kwambonambi, Mtubatuba, Hluhluwe and Mkuze substations are seeing supply interruptions.

Repairs to some of the above substations have been hindered by thorny vegetation, the utility says. Vegetation clearing is taking place.

Officials in the Western Cape are placing the blame for the sustained bad weather and storms on the effects of climate change. According to Bloomberg, the province has received record-setting amounts of rain that led to flooding.

“I don’t know if you could actually invest for a flood like this. It requires long-term planning. We have to make sure those plans start rolling out into the future,” said Alan Winde, Western Cape premier.

“This is probably a one-in-a-100-year flood once we work out how much water flowed through.”

In April 2022, catastrophic floods in KZN left 459 people dead and thousands without homes as mass floods wracked the province. Similar to recent flooding in the Western Cape, the calamitous rains faced by KZN were regarded as “record-setting.”

“Those countries that carry the least responsibility for global warming are the most vulnerable to its effect,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the British Parliament in November 2022. Ramaphosa was signing green energy agreements with the UK and other European powers at the time.

“They do not have the resources needed to adapt to drought, floods and rising sea levels and as they seek to grow, as they seek to industrialise and diversify their economies their energy needs will increase and the space they have to reduce emissions will keep on narrowing.”

The president called monetary and technical assistance given by developed nations to developing nations in order to leave fossil fuels behind “compensation for the harm done and the harm yet to be done to people in developing economies as a consequence for the industrialisation that wealthy countries have had over many years.”

[Image – Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash]


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