March 22, 2019 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

South Africa to get extra 900 MW of power from Mozambique

FILE PHOTO: Men walk past electricity pylons as they return from work in Orlando, Soweto township, South Africa March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s state power utility Eskom will get an additional 900 megawatts of power from Mozambique after power lines damaged by Cyclone Idai were restored, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

Eskom supplies more than 90 percent of the power in South Africa but has suffered repeated faults at its coal-fired power stations, including two new mega power stations which are underperforming.

The situation worsened on Saturday after Eskom lost its electricity imports from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric system in Mozambique, which contributes more than 1,000 MW to the South African grid, after a powerful cyclone.

“The minister of public enterprises has reported that they were able to revive and restore the power line from Cahora Bassa. So we will have an additional 900 megawatts,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique’s Beira, a low-lying port city of 500,000 residents, with strong winds and torrential rains last week, before moving inland to neighboring Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities, and Malawi.

The power shortages in South Africa have seen Eskom implement eight straight days of nationwide electricity cuts on Friday to prevent the national grid from collapsing.

The severe planned power cuts are expected to shave 0.3 percentage points off South Africa’s first-quarter GDP growth, Goldman Sachs said on Thursday.

Reporting by Wendell Roelf. Editing by Jane Merriman and Louise Heavens

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