Eskom puts plans in place for Cyclone Eloise
Port Elizabeth – With Cyclone Eloise expected to hit the eastern and northern parts of South Africa during the weekend, Eskom says it has put in place contingency plans to mitigate any possible risks.
Cyclone Eloise, fuelled by the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique channel, gained tropical cyclone status with its strength equivalent to a category two storm, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said on Friday.
Eskom has “assessed the risks and the possible impact on our infrastructure and the provision of electricity" the power utility said in a statement on Friday.
“Several plans are in place in anticipation of the storm, and Eskom is also covering a wider area than what is predicted by the weather specialists to ensure we are not caught off guard.”
“The heavy rainfall and storms will hit most parts of Mpumalanga, where most of our power stations are situated and may reach Lephalale, where two of our other large power stations are situated,” Eskom said.
It say that these power stations have been alerted and will prepare to implement the “wet coal” contingency plans.
The power utility says that if the expected heavy rainfall exceeds four days, it will pose a "significant threat to power station operations“ as it hampers coal handling at the power stations and the mines supplying them.
There are some power stations in the Mpumalanga area that have been experiencing ash dam constraints. Continuous heavy rainfall over these power stations could hamper operations and recovery efforts already under way.
The cyclone will also cross the transmission lines that import approximately 1 000MW of power into South Africa from Cahorra Bassa in Mozambique.
Eskom says despite being reinforced several years ago, the two lines still remain vulnerable during a cyclone such as Eloise.
“We have placed extra staff to attend to faults as quickly as humanly possible, and we ask consumers to exercise patience when they have outages as the safety of our staff is paramount.
Eskom says it is also working closely with the National Disaster Management Centre, and the centres in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as local government to ensure minimal disruption of electricity supply.
“We are ready to support their efforts to support our response as a country. Customers are requested to treat all electricity infrastructure as live and to report any fallen lines or pylons.
“We urge the public to be cautious of exposed cables,“ Eskom said.
African News Agency (ANA)