South Africa’s Eskom resorts to power cuts after 10 generating plants collapse

*The state-owned power company has said it cut 2,000 megawatts from the grid from after losing 10 generating units at some of its major power stations in South Africa

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Following the loss of capacity at 10 generating units of the firm’s key power stations, South Africa’s struggling power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Limited recently disclosed that it would cut power supply to electricity consumers in the country.

The state-owned power company had said it would cut 2,000 megawatts from the grid from Sunday, May 16 to Tuesday, May 18 after losing 10 generating units at some of its major power stations.

Eskom power stations in South Africa   Photo: Eskom

In its #POWERALERT, the power utility firm tweeted that “due to plant breakdowns, Eskom will implement Stage 2 loadshedding from 17:00 this evening until 22:00 on Tuesday night@SABCNews@IOL@News24 @Newzroom405 @ewnupdates @SundayTimesZA @TheSAnews @etvNewsSA.

Eskom in a statement also said it would bring back rolling blackouts due to steam leaks at its Matla plant, while generation has also been affected at the Medupi, Kusile and Dhuva plants.

However, the company noted that the disruptions are being investigated.

ConsumerConnect had reported that the debt-laden firm supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity consumers’ needs, but it has been struggling to meet demand in recent times.

Its 464billion Rand ($33billion) of debt has added to the South African Government’s challenges in attracting new investment to rejig economic growth in the continent’s  most industrialised economy.

Sequel to the country’s recurrent power outages resulting from inadequate maintenance of its aging fleet of coal-fired power plants, Nedbank Group Limited is leading discussions to restructure South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Limited’s $32 billion debt burden.

The parties met months back, and one of the options is to transfer at least 100 billion Rand of debt to a special-purpose vehicle that would be overseen by the Public Investment Corporation, Africa’s biggest fund manager.

In response to questions on the development, the company said: “Eskom intends to work constructively with all its creditors to develop a plan that will improve the company’s balance sheet while adequately catering for the requirements of its lenders and other stakeholders.

“The utility is in regular discussions with its stakeholders to agree on the best solution to shape the balance sheet as the company moves to the next phase of its strategy.”

Eskom, described by Goldman Sachs Group Incorporated as the biggest threat to the South African economy, has become mired in debt as a result of overspending on projects.

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