Power utility Eskom says it has put contingency plans in place as tropical storm Eloise could disrupt power supply in parts over southern Mozambique, parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces as well as northern KwaZulu-Natal.
This is after the South African Weather Service (SAWS) warned on Wednesday that Eloise was making its way across Madagascar, and is expected to increase in intensity over the next few days.
In a statement on Friday, Eskom said it assessed the risks and the possible impact on its infrastructure and the provision of electricity in the areas.
“Eskom has put contingency plans in place and our teams are on standby to do everything possible to mitigate these risks. Several plans are in place in anticipation of the storm, and Eskom is also covering a wider area than what is predicted by the weather specialists to ensure we are not caught off guard.
“With the heavy rainfall and storms will hit most parts of Mpumalanga, where most of our power stations are situated and may reach Lephalale, where two of our other large power stations are situated. These power stations have been alerted and have begun making preparations to implement the ‘wet coal’ contingency plans,” the power utility said.
The power utility further said some of its towers in Mozambique were also vulnerable to the storm.
“The storm will also cross the transmission lines that import approximately 1,000MW of power into South Africa from Cahorra Bassa in Mozambique.
“While these lines and towers were reinforced a few years back after flooding downed towers, the two lines do still remain vulnerable during a tropical storm such as Eloise.
“We have placed extra staff to attend to faults as quickly as humanly possible, and we ask consumers to exercise patience when they have outages as the safety of our staff is paramount.”
Eskom added that it is working with the National Disaster Management Centre, the Provincial Disaster Management Centres in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal to ensure minimal disruption of supply to customers.
The power utility also urged customers to report any fallen lines or pylons.
“We urge the public to be cautious of exposed cables, overhead power cables that may be damaged, collapsed or low-hanging as a result of the stormy weather conditions, vandalism and illegal connections. We ask public to use electricity sparingly during the storm as to avoid unnecessary pressure on the system.”
Eskom has put in place contingency plans for the tropical storm Eloise pic.twitter.com/tcAnwa8joM
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) January 22, 2021