Power Outages Caused by Lightning

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The electricity blackouts experienced in most parts of the city on two nights have nothing to do with the power shortage challenge currently facing the country. On Sunday, some city residents had to scramble for candles and torches after lightning struck and plunged the city into darkness for up to two hours. On Monday the same happened at around 18h30, but the power came back just before seven the same evening. When asked by New Era whether the latest blackouts had anything to do with the power shortage problem, spokesperson of the City of Windhoek Ndangi Katoma said this was not the case. “The power failure had nothing to do with the shortage of power supply. It was caused by lightning damage to the 66kV line between the Van Eck Power Station and the Goreangab centre,” explained Katoma. The 66 kV power line that malfunctioned reportedly belongs to Nampower. Nampower’s Chief Technical Advisor Reiner Jagau told New Era that since the lighting struck very close to the Von Eck Power Station, as a precautionary measure the electricity power line cuts off the entire system. “It is a safety measure and once disrupted it disconnects,” explained Jagau. He added that the disruption could however only be restored after thorough investigations were done on the ground, and for now all systems have been rectified. The two incidents left consumers scurrying around town in search of candles or torches. “It was such an annoyance and we were not informed about the blackouts beforehand,” said one frustrated resident. Others thought that this was the start of a power supply shortage that was announced at the beginning of this year. Yet authorities have been giving reassurances that this is not the case, as the weather was to blame. The largest area with the highest consumption of power in Windhoek that was affected by the blackouts was most of Khomasdal and Katutura, Goreangab, Okuryangava, Hakahana, Wanaheda, Otjo-muise and the Gammams Waterworks. Other residential areas like Kleine Kuppe, Olympia, Klein Windhoek, Avis, Pioniers-park, the Southern Industrial Area, Hochland Park, Rocky Crest and Dorado Park were all without power on Sunday. The only parts of the city that were not affected were the Central Business District, northern and eastern parts of Katutura, Eros, the Northern Industrial Area, Windhoek North and Windhoek West. However, all affected electrical systems were repaired and returned to normal on the same day.