Western Cape hit by fewer power cuts than other provinces

Eskom CE Brian Molefe (far right)  at a site inspection in the Western Cape. (Adiel Ismail, Fin24)
Eskom CE Brian Molefe (far right) at a site inspection in the Western Cape. (Adiel Ismail, Fin24)

Cape Town - If you are living in the Western Cape, you are likely to experience fewer Eskom power cuts than inhabitants of the country's other provinces.

This is according to Alwie Lester, head of Eskom in the Western Cape, who was part of a delegation accompanying Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe on a site visit on Wednesday.

“Customers in the Western Cape experience lower power outages than anywhere else in the country,” he told Fin24.

He believes Eskom customers in the province experience a good level of electricity availability.

“In fact, what we call the duration of interruption and frequency of interruption in this province is actually world class,” Lester stated.

Not every customer will experience an outage and those who do - when electricity switches off and actual load shedding - will never see it more than 14 times in a year, he said.

“We do fewer than 14 incidents per year on average for any customer and that is a customer base, including the municipalities, of over 5 million.”

Lester attributed this to the capacity, skills and experience of staff in the Western Cape, as well as good investment decisions taken in the last three to five years.

He admitted that some networks are troublesome, but said generally power infrastructure is stable.

Molefe was given a first-hand account of the R33m Muldersvlei-Joostenberg-Kraaifontein power line project in Klipheuwel, which was initiated about two years ago.

The project is the first of its kind in the country and aims to strengthen power supply and refurbish existing networks. What makes this project significant is that it involves stringing fibre-optic cable on the network.

The cable, known as OPGW, is capable of handling electrical faults on transmission lines and allows Eskom to pinpoint within half a metre where the problem lies - meaning that problems are identified and fixed faster, Lester explained.

“Thank you. I think you are doing a very good job,” Molefe told the team working at the site.

Eskom has managed to keep the country's lights on for nine consecutive months, as it seems to be turning the corner in terms of power generation capacity and cash flow issues.

After a visit to Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on Friday, President Jacob Zuma boldly stated that load shedding is a thing of the past.

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