Photo: Dean Hutton
Photo: Dean Hutton

Fifth day of power cuts as Eskom struggles

By Andre Janse Van Vuuren Time of article published Apr 16, 2015

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Johannesburg - South Africa’s state electricity utility introduced rolling blackouts for a fifth straight day as it seeks to protect the grid from collapsing amid the failure of generating units.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd said it would reduce supply by as much as 1 000 megawatts from 6am until 10pm.

It’s the longest stretch of rolling blackouts since February after a 4 000-megawatt reduction on Wednesday.

“The electricity supply system remains very constrained and vulnerable due to a shortage of generation capacity,” the Johannesburg-based utility said in an emailed statement.

“Several units are currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.”

This week’s shortages have been exacerbated by labour unrest among construction workers at the Medupi coal-fired plant, whose first unit was connected to the grid earlier this year.

The cuts are forcing businesses to close at peak times. They also snarl traffic across cities in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

While Eskom has installed capacity of 41 995 megawatts, about 30 percent of that has been out of service on average over the past five months because of planned maintenance and plant failures, according to data from the company.


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