City of Cape Town investigating the cause of Saturday's massive blackout

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Electricity pylons.
Electricity pylons.
Alfonso Nqunjana, News24
  • An investigation is under way into the large scale blackout that occurred on Saturday.
  • Several areas in and around Cape Town lost power after two high voltage power lines tripped the Tafelbaai substation.
  • Eskom's Western Cape office says the power utility regularly maintains its network infrastructure.

The massive blackout, which saw residents in Cape Town and surrounds plunged into darkness for several hours on Saturday evening, has forced the City of Cape Town to formulate a plan to mitigate risk going forward.

Several areas, including the city centre, suburbs on the Atlantic seaboard, Observatory, Paarden Eiland and Milnerton, lost power on Saturday after two high voltage power lines tripped the Tafelbaai substation.

It was the second recent instance of a large-scale power outage due an electrical fault and infrastructure damage.

In December, similar areas were affected by a blackout, but Eskom said the two incidents were unrelated because the first outage was due to cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure.

READ | Electricity restored to parts of Cape Town

Beverley van Reenen, the City's mayoral committee member for energy, told News24 an investigation was under way to determine a holistic picture.

She said:

As far as the power outage that happened over the weekend specifically, as it pertains to the City, we are constantly assessing risks in our operations and devising contingency plans to reduce risk and protect our network within what the City can control. City leadership will again touch base with Eskom this week to discuss risk and how Eskom will mitigate risk going forward.

Van Reenen said the cause had not been determined for this particular outage.

"The City constantly monitors the situation and has standard operating protocols in place insofar as it pertains to the City's network," she stressed.

Van Reenen said there had been a marked increase in vandalism and theft of electrical infrastructure across the metro.

"The City is stepping up its efforts to reduce the impact and also calls on the South African Police Service to sharpen its focus to prevent damage to electrical infrastructure due to theft and vandalism," she said.

Eskom's Western Cape spokesperson, Kyle Cookson, said the power utility regularly maintains its network infrastructure.

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