Half of Cape Town’s electricity supply was lost today, leaving most of the Peninsula without power for at least an hour.
The city’s head of electricity, Les Rencontre, said the blackout occurred at about 11.15am after power lines feeding electricity from Mpuma-langa province tripped.
Rencontre told the Cape Argus that the outage was caused by a problem with Eskom’s main line into Acacia Park substation, the city’s main intake point.
This is situated not far from where the N1 highway is bisected by the N7 near Goodwood Prison and Acacia Park parliamentary residential complex in the northern suburbs.
Eskom’s Tony Stott said greater Cape Town received its power from two sources: Koeberg and coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga.
Stott said Koeberg’s two electricity generators were continuing to run at “full steam”.
Rencontre said the power failure affected the CBD and all the suburbs southwards, down to Simon’s Town.
“It could take hours to bring all areas back (on line),” he reported at midday.
Power from the north is fed to the Western Cape along 400 kilovolt lines.
Eskom’s Cape Town spokeswoman Jolene Henn said two lines – together called the “Acacia-Muldersvlei line” – fed the Acacia substation. Eskom had been conducting maintenance on one, when the other had tripped due to a faulty “conductor”.
She said the line they had been working on had been brought back up as soon as possible, restoring electricity to some areas of Cape Town.
At midday today, staff at Cavendish Square confirmed they had no power, and said only a small number of shops had continued with “optional trading”.
The V&A Waterfront could not be reached at midday.
A business owner in the City Centre, who asked not to be named, said: “We have no power, so I think most of the staff are going to go to the beach. I’m going to go for a run.
“Our building doesn’t have a generator, so it’s impossible to work. And now my cellphone battery is about to die, and I can’ t charge it, so I’m about to be cut …,” he said, as the line went dead.
A receptionist at Blue Route shopping mall said they had fired up their generators, as had some of their individual shops’ owners, so it was business as usual.
The City of Cape Town’s Civic Centre headquarters could only be reached intermittently.
The blackout included the SA Navy base in Simon’s Town, where only some buildings had power at midday.
Metrorail’s Riana Scott said they were classified as a “priority customer”, and had only experienced a brief interruption.