Maputo — Flooding on the Limpopo River, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, has damaged the electricity transmission lines from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi to South Africa, causing a 35 per cent reduction in the amount of power exported by Cahora Bassa to its largest client, the South African electricity company Eskom.
Two transmission lines run from Cahora Bassa to South Africa, and one of them has been knocked out, according to a Tuesday press release from the dam operating company, Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB).
Torrential rains in the Pafuri region, near the border between Gaza province and South Africa, and the subsequent sharp rise in the level of the Limpopo, led to the interruption of power supplies from transmission line two on Monday afternoon.
The force of the Limpopo flood knocked down one pylon on the line, and when this pylon fell, it dragged four others after it. Parts of several other pylons on line two are now under water, and at risk that they too will be torn from their moorings.
All power supplies from Cahora Bassa to Eskom are now being transmitted along line one, and by what HCB calls “alternative routes” (presumably via Zimbabwe).
But these lines cannot carry the full 1,300 megawatts that Eskom normally receives. HCB has been forced to cut its exports to South Africa by 35 per cent.
An HCB engineering team is putting together the logistics required for an urgent intervention to repair line two, in order to resume normal supplies to Eskom. But HCB warns that this operation cannot be undertaken until the Limpopo drops to its normal level.