Extreme weather wreaking havoc on South Africa’s electricity supply

Eskom and City Power have warned customers in the Western Cape and Johannesburg that inclement weather conditions threaten the electricity supply in these regions.

The state-owned power utility published a statement on Monday, 8 April 2024, explaining that the extreme weather conditions had resulted in multiple faults across the Western Cape.

“Parts of the network experienced minor structural damages leading to loss of supply to a number of areas,” it said.

Eskom said affected regions include Beaufort West, Kraaifontein, Khayelitsha, Klawer and surrounding farms, Kylemore, Gordon’s Bay, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Stellenbosch farms and Vredendal.

It warned that parts of the network are still vulnerable to damage, as some areas of the province are still experiencing gale-force winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms.

“This has created challenges to electricity restoration efforts creating a backlog,” said Eskom

“However, customers are assured that Eskom technicians are braving the bad weather to attend to these faults in order to safely restore electricity as soon as possible.”

Despite this, it warned that customers in the province can expect prolonged periods without electricity supply.

On Sunday, 7 April 2024, the City of Johannesburg’s electricity distributor, City Power, warned the city’s residents of the high chance of faults resulting from the extreme weather conditions.

“City Power is reaching out to inform you about the current inclement weather conditions,” it said.

“Due to the severe weather, such as heavy rain & thunderstorms, there may be disruptions to your electricity supply.”

It recommended that, in the interest of safety, residents do the following if they experience a power outage:

  • Stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel;
  • Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles to reduce the risk of fire;
  • Avoid opening fridges and freezers to maintain temperature; and,
  • Unplug sensitive electronic devices to prevent damage from power surges when electricity returns.

“Your safety is our top priority, and we appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time,” it added.

Several parts of South Africa, particularly the Western Cape, have been experiencing extreme weather conditions, with high winds and thunderstorms since the evening of Saturday, 6 April 2024.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a warning for gale-force winds and heavy rain in large parts of the Western Cape.

SAWS spokesperson said residents should expect gale-force winds in Cape Town, the Overberg and the Cape Winelands, and flooding that could lead to structural damage.

Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for Cape Town Disaster Risk Management, warned that the winds and rainfall could cause damage across the province. She urged motorists and residents in low-lying areas to be cautious.

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Extreme weather wreaking havoc on South Africa’s electricity supply