Eskom working to restore power in rain-affected parts of KZN

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Eskom crews have been dispatched to assess and deal with any interruptions to power supply as a result of the current flooding taking place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Rain has lashed the coastal province – leading to flooding, the loss of lives and damage to infrastructure.

The power utility said heavy rain has rendered some areas in KZN inaccessible and called for patience from communities.

Eskom Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter said local crews are already assessing damages caused by the heavy rain.

“Where there are these events that disrupt the supply of electricity…we dispatch our maintenance crews; we prioritise work to give the maximum relief to the maximum number of customers as quickly as possible. This is an emergency situation…we are also looking at opportunities to alleviate some of the pressure on the system and hopefully, with our local management in place, can address the situation as it unfolds.

“We are in the process of doing damage assessments and understanding how we can restore power to areas as quickly as possible,” he said.

De Ruyter said, however, any repairs and power restoration will be done with the safety of crews and communities in mind.

“At the moment, it is very dynamic. The floods are still taking place and in a number of instances we’ll have to wait for the flood water to subside before we can start the process of assessing damage first of all and then secondly, to start the repair work.

“We also have to bear in mind the safety of our crews as well as the general public when it comes to restoring the supply of electricity particularly in water logged areas,” he said.

The chief executive said that Eskom itself is facing challenges as a result of the heavy rain and flooding.

“We have had a significant ingress of debris into our Drakensburg pump storage facility. So while we have grids that stop debris from entering into the turbines, these clog up when there’s an excess of debris and these have to be frequently cleared up.

“We also have a challenge at Ingula [Pumped Storage Scheme] with the dams being excessively full. In order to run a pump storage facility, you need two dams and you want one dam full and one dam empty. This allows you to run water downhill through the turbine to generate electricity. When, owing to heavy rain, the bottom dam is full and the upper dam is full as well, then you have a constraint because you can’t release water from the upper dam otherwise you’ll cause flooding downstream with the lower dam,” he said.

De Ruyter assured the public that the heavy rains are not expected to affect the power utility's coal stockpiles. –