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Low water levels force Eskom to turn off a hydro station

The utility has decided to stop using the hydroelectric station due to low water levels in the Gariep Dam.

Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it's stopped using one of its hydro-electric power stations in the Eastern Cape due to low water levels but, in general, the drought has not had an impact on electricity supply.

The country is facing the worst drought in 23 years, with infrastructure and food security already under threat.

At the same time, South Africans have been living with an unreliable electricity system.

While load shedding has been avoided for some time, there's still a shortage of generating capacity.

Eskom uses four hydro-electric stations to generate electricity in the country and it also buys power from the Cahora Bassa hydro station in Mozambique.

The local power stations produce an estimate 2,000 megawatts in total, and the power utility says it's decided not to use electricity generated at the Gariep dam due to low water levels.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says even if all four stations were not used, supply wouldn't immediately be affected.

"Technically we will still be okay with the contribution we are getting from our nuclear power station and the coal fire stations."

South Africa buys about 1,500 megawatts from Caharo Bassa per day.

Mozambique has not issued a warning about its water levels at this stage.

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