Eskom has asked the Tsolo-Qumbu and Matatiele areas in the Eastern Cape to be patient amid delays in restoring power.
The power utility said in a statement that bad weather conditions in the province had put a strain on its electricity infrastructure and logistics.
“The Eastern Cape province has experienced heavy rainfall since Monday 31 May and this has made accessing certain areas of supply a challenge, especially in far flung rural areas where wet roads and low-lying bridges have heightened the risk to our technicians as they try to get to customers,” it said.
Snowfall has added to the problem as networks have been heavily affected, especially the Tsolo-Qumbu and Matatiele areas.
“Eskom is prepared to handle electricity faults that continue to occur. However restoration of supply might take longer than normal due to access difficulties in some areas,” said Eskom.
“We urge all affected customers to be patient during this period and to treat all electricity appliances as live as we continue to navigate through risky roads and terrain to restore the supply.”
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a level 5 warning of snow and very cold temperatures that will last into the weekend.
“The cold temperatures follow in the wake of a cold front that moved over the eastern parts of the country on Sunday evening, sustained by the development of a cut-off low pressure system over the south-eastern parts of the country,” it said.
“The cut-off low pressure system will be responsible for the majority of adverse weather expected over the next three days. This includes snowfall accumulation of 5 to 15 cm over Lesotho and the southern Drakensberg mountains in the Eastern Cape, rainfall of a disruptive nature along the Wild Coast and north eastern KwaZulu-Natal as well as wet conditions accompanied by very cold temperatures over the high lying areas of the Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.”
Heavy rain over the Eastern Cape is also expected to result in localised flooding of roads and settlements along the Wild Coast.
“This could result in major roads and mountain passes being closed as well as loss of livestock and access to some remote communities being interrupted due to snowfall or icy roads.”