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Lights Out for South Africa?

Posted April 08, 2011 12:30 AM by Steve Melito

"The threat of power supply interruptions is never far from the public imagination," complains Business Day, a daily newspaper from Johannesburg, South Africa, "while the poor state of the distribution sector goes unnoticed." But is South Africa's power distribution industry really a "ticking time bomb", as former Minerals and Energy minister Buyelwa Sonjica claimed four years ago? Some South Africans may soon find out.

Last week, the South African government pulled the plug on the group tasked with maintaining that nation's aging power-distribution infrastructure. EDI Holdings was successful at adding to South Africa's power generation capacity, but failed to empower regional electricity distributors (REDs) that could facilitate the restructuring of the power distribution industry. Although most municipalities won't miss the REDs, they may not be ready to fill the void.

So how bad are some parts of South Africa's grid? Typically, maintenance budgets are badly underfunded. The number of power outages go underreported, too. Planning for them is also more art than science. For example, one municipality planned for 14 outages in a month and underwent 150. Other communities do not even maintain records for blackouts.

What do South African members of the CR4 community think about the state of their country's power distribution system? Are the problems really that bad? If so, what are the solutions?

Source: Business Day

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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Centurion, South Africa
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#1

Re: Lights Out for South Africa?

04/08/2011 1:46 AM

It was getting better but a short while ago one of the bigger coal fired stations was taken out (some turbine over speeding). The parts and our tariffs went through the roof.

One serious problem is that unqualified operators (actually most of the posts) are used.

Technically we are handicapped by law that enforces measures to redress results of past discrimination (unfortunately at all costs)

This is also the case in other services like water , sanitation , roads etc.

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