A bush fire in South Africa’s central Gauteng province damaged power transmission lines that supply a key water treatment plant, curtailing supply to some cities and underscoring the vulnerability of essential services reliant on the fragile national electricity grid.
About 60% of the Zuikerbosch plant’s output was curbed due to the loss of electricity, Rand Water Services Ltd., the country’s biggest water utility, said in a statement. Supplies to Johannesburg, the economic hub, the capital, Pretoria, and the surrounding Tshwane municipality, and several other areas were affected.
Almost all South Africa’s electricity is supplied by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. The country has endured intermittent power outages since 2005 and is headed for a record year of blackouts because of the cash-strapped state utility’s inability to meet demand from its old and poorly maintained plants.
Power was restored to the treatment plant after the fires subsided, according to Eskom.