SA flooding cripples power plants, spikes load shedding
South Africa was the latest African nation to be battered by extreme weather, as flooding rains led to water rescues and swaths of the nation were thrown into the dark by damage to facilities of state-owned utility provider Eskom.
The national weather service warned that rains were expected to continue into Tuesday in Gauteng province – where some of the worst flooding was concentrated on Monday – and into parts of North West, Free State, and Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
That’s also led to more load-shedding because of rain-related complications at power production plants. At Medupi, there was no electricity to run the conveyor belts of coal needed to fuel the generating units. At Kriel, flooding in both the mine and the power station also meant no coal.
“Camden experienced abnormally high rain at approximately 250mm over the past week, leading to flooding impacting the boiler and turbine hall and other critical infrastructure that is connected to coal supply and handling inside the station,” the company said in an update Monday.
That meant that already-significant power cuts at the Stage Four level were bumped up to a new Stage Six – a severe level reflecting unchartered territory as part of an “extended” load-shedding structure. Those new levels were introduced in September and have not been previously seen.
The level returned to Stage Four late Monday night but the company said it will remain there through Tuesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, confronted with economic crisis and corruption in the nation’s state-owned entities, has insisted Eskom would not be privatized despite South Africa’s challenges.