Many reasons for power outages – Eskom


Phasiwe said power failures on distribution lines have a variety of causes. He said, “Roadworkers sometimes dig up local supply cables, disrupting power in that particular area. Cable theft is also a major contributor to power failures.”

He added that Eskom regularly held aggressive awareness campaigns to inform the public of the negative effects of cable theft. “We work closely with communities to encourage them to report any illegal cable theft.

“Vandalism is another major cause of power failures – stones, metal implements and other objects thrown at pylons and lines or shots fired at insulators can cause damage, and vehicles crashing into poles or similar accidents can damage lines and poles.”

Phasiwe said lightning was a frequent cause of power failures. The thinner power line conductors on the smaller power lines could be severed by lightning and could also cause permanent damage to insulators or equipment connected to the power line such as transformers, surge arresters or circuit breakers. Even if lightning did not strike a line directly, the high voltage it induced in a nearby power line could damage equipment and cause failures.

He stated that natural causes such as birds, veld fires, trees or branches blown onto lines could cause short circuits. “Attempts are being made to limit environmental damage and not to cut down trees unless absolutely necessary. This, however, adds to the problem of keeping servitudes free of potentially hazardous trees.

“Though Eskom patrols the power line routes regularly, patrolmen are responsible for hundreds of kilometres of line in their district and might not always locate these potentially problematic trees,” Phasiwe said.

He added that the electricity supply was sometimes intentionally interrupted to enable maintenance work to be performed on equipment. When such work is planned, Eskom takes all reasonable steps to warn consumers beforehand, he said. Eskom also makes extensive use of live-line maintenance techniques to reduce the number of planned power cuts.

Phasiwe concluded by urging residents to be vigilant and to report power issues because Eskom had sometimes no way of knowing that supplies have been interrupted until consumers reported the outages.

Details: SMS 35328; sharecall 08600ESKOM or 0860037566.

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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