afrol News, 12 March - South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has guaranteed that there will be no electricity blackouts during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, "unless of course a major national disaster happens."
South Africa suffered severe power outages in early 2008 that badly hit the mining industry, but Mr Motlanthe was confident that the lights would stay on during Africa's first World Cup from 11 June to 11 July, a period that coincides with South Africa's peak winter electricity demand.
Responding to oral question in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Vice President Motlanthe said South Africa's electricity utility Eskom had also "assured" government and Fifa that "there will be no power interruptions during the World Cup."
Mr Motlanthe was confident that steps already taken around the country would enable it to manage electrify demand during the event.
Organisers both locally and nationally did not entrust Eskom with guaranteeing smooth power supplies during the World Cup. In Johannesburg, at the spectacular Soccer City Stadium, organisers said they would "not be using Eskom electricity during matches. All power will be provided by generators."
The Deputy President yesterday told MPs that many alternative power sources would assure there were no blackouts. For example, coal stocks had been replenished and the summer maintenance programme was running smoothly, he said.
"All stadiums will run on diesel generators. The electricity grid will serve as backup... We are confident that these instruments, among others, will enable the country to manage electricity consumption demand during the peak winter period that coincides with the hosting of the 2010 World Cup," Mr Motlanthe assured.
Eskom earlier this month reported the company foresees a slight power surplus during the World Cup. But South Africa's power supply was "going to be extremely tight from 2013 and 2014," and the country would have to save energy to avoid blackouts.
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