Eskom power blackout catastrophe warning

Eskom on Monday would not divulge what plans it has in the event of a national blackout (see How a total blackout can happen).

This was after Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille warned in her SA Today column that a nationwide power blackout would result in “catastrophe”.

According to reports Eskom has warned Cabinet about the risk of a national blackout.

Zille defined a blackout as “what happens when the grid fails and everything shuts down indefinitely”.

Eskom has repeatedly said that rotational power cuts, or load shedding, were necessary to prevent a total blackout. Previously the parastatal indicated such a situation could take around two weeks to resolve.

Zille said that if the national power grid was hit with a blackout, a “huge amount” of electricity would need to be sourced from elsewhere to re-start the grid.

“This is not available from any of our neighbours.”

Asked about the validity of Zille’s claim and to what extent Eskom has planned for this possibility, aside from implementing power cuts as a preventative measure, the parastatal would not disclose details.

“The reason why we conduct load shedding is in order to avoid a blackout and we will continue to implement load shedding to protect the grid as this is the best way to protect the power system,” Eskom’s media desk said in an e-mail.

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Eskom power blackout catastrophe warning