Saturday, November 26, 2005

Power restored to W Cape

'Black-out' at parliament

Cape Town - Power was restored in all parts of the Western Cape on Friday after a controlled blackout earlier in the day, but Eskom has appealed to people to use electricity sparingly.

The outages followed a shutdown of Koeberg nuclear power station - which supplies the bulk of the Western Cape's electricity - on Wednesday evening when an irregularity in a backup safety system was detected.

Though power was now being drawn through the national grid from Mpumalanga, the demand was more than the high voltage transmission lines - which carry electricity for both provinces before splitting at De Aar - could cope with.

To assist with the management of the electricity supply, Eskom is appealing to electricity users in the affected areas to use it sparingly, Eskom said in a statement.

Spokesperson for the utility in the region Trish da Silva said power was restored by 19:30.

Electricity supply to the Western, Eastern, and a small part of the Northern Cape is currently constrained following the controlled shutdown of Koeberg.

Electricity to the Cape is normally supplied from Koeberg power station and from power stations in Mpumalanga via the transmission network.

Since Wednesday evening Eskom has utilised the emergency gas turbines at Acacia and Port Rex, the hydro units at Gariep and Vanderkloof and the Palmiet pump storage station to compensate for the regional shortage of electricity.

"However, due to the low availability of water for the hydro and pumped storage stations, Eskom has had to balance the utilisation of these resources," the utility said.

"Since there is a limit on the amount of electricity that can be transferred via the transmission network, Eskom has embarked on a controlled programme of limited load shedding to ensure the stability of the transmission network, while maintaining maximum possible supply of electricity to the Cape."

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