Responsibility for the power cuts that plagued Cape Town and the surrounding area from November 2005 to March 2006 has been laid firmly at the door of the national electricity provider Eskom. In a report released in mid-August energy watchdog the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) cited negligence, poor maintenance and breach of licensing conditions as the root causes of the power cuts, which caused chaos across the province and cost local business and agriculture millions of rand. Charges against Eskom include general ill-discipline among company staff particularly at the Koeberg nuclear plant, which supplies the Cape. NERSA, which was established under the National Energy Act of 2004 to monitor the energy industry in the country, is considering taking punitive action against the electricity supplier, which could face a penalty of over three billion rand. Eskom has disputed the findings of the investigation, which looked at six power failures in particular.
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