Damage caused by Cyclone Idai to pylons in Mozambique that carry power to neighbouring countries may take weeks to repair, a state power company official said.
The damage to Mozambican infrastructure has exacerbated rolling outages in South Africa, where state-owned utility Eskom is struggling to bring faulty generating units back online. Mozambique’s 2 075MW Cahora Bassa hydropower dam supplies almost three-quarters of its output to South Africa along a 1 400km transmission line.
An initial assessment of the destruction caused by the cyclone shows that at least one pylon collapsed and four or five others had minor damage, Mario Houane, an electrical engineer at state-owned Electricidade de Mocambique’s transmission division, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Further evaluations are being hampered by damage to roads and bridges and continuing rains, he said.
“The priority at this point in time is to save as many people’s lives as possible (this is a national emergency) and, to exacerbate the situation, the weather outlook for the coming days is bleak,” Houane said. “My educated guess is that it may take at least two weeks” to repair the damage, he said.
South Africa implemented controlled blackouts for a seventh straight day on Wednesday. The outages, aimed at reducing demand pressure on the grid, are crippling businesses and leaving roads gridlocked in cities. — Reported by Matthew Hill, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP