Karoo residents on track for electricity return on Thursday after storms caused massive power outage

Eskom teams are hard at work to restore electricity in the Karoo. Picture: Michael Schwarzenberger/Pixabay

Eskom teams are hard at work to restore electricity in the Karoo. Picture: Michael Schwarzenberger/Pixabay

Published Feb 14, 2024


Eskom has announced it is still on track to restore electricity to the Karoo by midday on Thursday.

This follows after large parts of the Western Cape, including the Karoo, were left without electricity due to thunderstorms for the past 12 days.

Eskom, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell as well as senior members of the Western Cape Government, said the reconnection was on track since all temporary structures needed were in place and the stringing of conductors is progressing and should be completed by Wednesday.

The focus will now shift from a repair project to the gradual restarting of an entire electrical network.

“We will be monitoring the restart tomorrow very closely with Eskom. This process is described as a ‘cold start’ because restarting the grid will take a number of hours. There may also be other outages or disruptions as a result of the grid restarting,” Winde said.

The restarting involves several substations and transformers.

“Eskom informed us that the restarting involves seven substations and several cold transformers in Laingsburg and the surrounding area. This will be a gradual process that involves the warming-up of transformers, starting at 12pm tomorrow [Thursday], and people can expect to have electricity later during the day, depending on how the process unfolds,” Bredell said.

Winde has appealed to members of the public to work with authorities during this restart.

“I understand how frustrated and desperate people are feeling after over 12 days without Eskom power. You are residents can play a huge role in making this reconnection of electrical power successful. Please ensure all appliances in your house or business are switched off to avoid a large and sudden load on the network.

“Please allow some time for the network to stabilise and reconnect your devices gradually to the live power. I know that many of you will want to start recharging your devices and warming up your geysers, but we do need to manage demand and switch on our appliances and geysers in a phased manner,” Winde said.

The Western Cape Government said it will be supporting Eskom with his process as government services currently using generators will continue running the generators for some time to help lessen the load on the cold network.

Residents have been requested to report any electrical faults to Eskom during this cold restart, as the power utility expects a strong possibility of other disruptions as a result of this reconnection process.

The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) continues to assist with food relief efforts in affected parts of the Central Karoo.

Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said the department enabled three old age facilities in Prince Albert, Laingsburg, and Ladismith, to buy diesel for generators as their diesel supplies have been running low.

“It is thanks to the hard work and commitment of DSD staff that have been working around the clock to ensure we reach the most vulnerable citizens in the Central Karoo. I also wish to thank all the stakeholders who assisted us in delivering extensive food relief in such a short space of time over an expansive region: the NGOs, municipalities, volunteers, farmers, and corporates,” Fernandez said.

Winde also thanked all role players for their hard work.

“This has been a herculean task, compounded by various factors. But by coming together and combining all our efforts we are on track to restore power to all affected areas by tomorrow. I want to thank the residents for their patience. This has been an exceptionally difficult time for them,” he said.

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