Cape Power Outage: Causes


Spare a thought for Capetonians this morning, who are enduring the city’s fourth consecutive day of rolling blackouts. Not all areas are affected at the same time, meaning Your Correspondent can hop around to different internet cafes and keep his unwritten contract with you, dear reader, to supply your voracious hunger for South Africa info.

What’s the cause behind the blackouts? Fundamentally, the city’s growth over the past 20 years. Population inflow since 1985, coupled with a decade of boom times across all industries since 1995 – property, construction, retail, tourism, etc. – has caused the city to outstrip the capacity of its various electricity suppliers (Eskom, primarily).

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More immediately, the problems have to do with the Koeberg nuclear power plant, up the West Coast from Cape Town, plus faults with electricity insulators in South Africa’s other power stations. It’s a complicated story, which the various spokespeople and technicians seem unable to articulate or fix for the time being, and which has usurped many a citizens’s and visitor’s best-laid plans this week.