Cape Town disappeared off the electricity grid at around 11:00 today. We’re powered by some fairly sizeable generators (when you’re in the ISP business, you can’t let a measly city-wide power outage break your stride), but it was interesting following the reports of the outages and the rumours surrounding it while it was all going on.
And I’m going to start by dispelling the most common one: Koeberg (our nuclear power plant about 40 km up the West Coast) did not do a Chernobyl/Fukushima on us. Although most of Cape Town went down (in particular, the CBD, Cape Flats, Southern Suburbs and South Peninsula went down), the northern and West Coast areas (Bellville, Durbanville, Table View, Bloubergstrand et al) stayed up. Trust me, if something ever happens at Koeberg, those guys are the ones who will be the first to know about it – one way or the other.
According to several reports on our local news sites, the issue was with the Eskom supply line from the Muldersvlei area. From what I’ve heard, there are two supply lines: one was down for maintenance, and while this was going on, the other one tripped. This isn’t first-hand information, and the South African press is slightly notorious for getting facts wrong, so I’d take this with a slight pinch of salt – that being said, it’s entirely plausible to me.
As I type this, power to the CBD has been restored, we’re off the generators, and other parts of the city are either back online or are being brought up. I should be fine for World of Warcraft raiding tonight then. (I hope!)
For those interested in the geeky side of the power failure: Andrew Trench put together a map of the power failure as it was mentioned on Twitter. It’s quite interesting viewing, and just shows one the impact that social networking has had on our lives (if the Arab revolutions earlier this year weren’t proof enough).