Eskom extends blackouts as more power plants collapse in South Africa

Eskom power utility firm, overwhelmed with about 400 billion Rand debt, says it will extend a reduction of 2,000 megawatts from the grid till Friday, June 4 because of shortages caused by two plant failures

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

South Africa’s struggling power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Lilited will cut electricity supplies nationwide until Friday, June 4 after more breakdowns at some of its facilities in the country.

Agency report indicates that the state-owned company said it would extend a reduction of 2,000 megawatts from the grid because of shortages caused by two power plant failures.

Eskom power stations in South Africa

Eskom, which has faced delays in restarting two other generating units that were being serviced, said it’s been forced to ration power further after exhausting emergency reserves.

The company, in its #POWERALERT2 noted: “The emergency generation reserves have been used extensively in the past days to avoid load shedding during the day.

“This has resulted in these being depleted, reducing available capacity.”

According to Eskom, Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 10:00 on Wednesday morning until 22:00 on Friday 4 June 2021 via Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA).

Meanwhile, the so-called load shedding could intensify with an anticipated spike in demand as South Africa’s winter season sets in and supply-chain challenges mount, according to Ted Blom, an independent energy analyst.

Blom stated that the cash-strapped utility may also not be giving an accurate picture on the existing electricity generating challenges, while complaints abounded of outages lasting way beyond advertised, Bloomberg report said.

However, Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha denied Eskom’s communication on the state of power supply is inaccurate.

Mantshantsha said in a text message, that “Eskom has consistently, factually and promptly communicated its status with regards to the supply of electricity.

“It will continue to do so. There is no need to speculate.”

ConsumerConnect had reported that the power utility, which supplies 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, would resume rolling blackouts May 31, 2021.

The company is currently saddled with about 400 billion Rand ($29 billion) of debt that is adding to the South African Government’s challenge of attracting new investment to stoke growth in Africa’s ‘most-industrialised economy’.

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