18 September 2012 – South Africa’s national utility Eskom reports that imports from Cahora Bassa have been significantly lower than usual since the end of July 2012 because of a fault on the transmission infrastructure. This, together with a Koeberg nuclear power station unit out for maintenance and refuelling, has put added strain on a power system whose performance has been volatile over the past couple of weeks

Eskom’s power stations are ageing and have been run hard in the past few years to meet demand. Eskom has made it a priority over the past year to deal with the maintenance backlog which had developed in a context of constrained supply. Significant progress has been made and Eskom is on track to eliminate the maintenance backlog by the end of 2013. However, sustained high levels of maintenance are needed if it is to enable the power stations to perform more reliably and ensure the utility can reduce the level of unplanned outages.

Currently peak demand in South Africa is about 32,500 MW.