Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Mozambique Further Cuts South Africa Power Supplies After Fault

  • Eskom getting 900 megawatts from Cahora Bassa hydropower plant
  • Cahora turbine fault to be fixed by late January, Eskom says

Mozambique has further cut electricity supplies to South Africa’s utility after a fault at the Cahora Bassa hydropower dam, the sub-Saharan region’s biggest.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is receiving 900 megawatts of power from the dam out of a possible 1,300 megawatts because of a fault at one of the turbines, the Johannesburg-based company said in reply to e-mailed questions. That’s a drop from the 1,150 megawatts Cahora Bassa had already reduced supplies to because of falling water levels at the dam.

The fault “has resulted in one of the Cahora Bassa generators being out of service,” Eskom said Tuesday. “It is expected to return in late January. While it does reduce Eskom’s supply capacity, it is not sufficient to materially change our national current supply-demand balance.”

More than 80 percent of Eskom’s installed capacity of 42,000 megawatts comprises coal-fired power plants. The state-owned company’s generation capacity plus imports and other purchases including those from independent renewable-energy producers are forecast to increase to 50,556 megawatts this year, according to a report posted on the national energy regulator’s website.

Eskom’s energy availability factor, which measures how much electricity generation it can use and excludes capacity that has broken down or is out for planned maintenance, reached 81 percent in June, the highest since July 2013. It averaged 71 percent in the year to March 31, less than the 74.1 percent target, the utility said in its annual report.

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