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Eskom extends power blackouts across South Africa for lack of capacity

*Problems at electricity generation units led to extension of power outage for consumers, as the $30.5 billion debt-laden Eskom Holdings, in South Africa, cut 2,000 megawatts from power grid

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Subsequent to difficulties in restarting the basic electricity generation units, South Africa’s debt-laden power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Limited is extending power cuts to Monday after delays in restarting some key generation units.

The state-owned company in a statement said it would continue with the planned power outages, cutting 2,000 megawatts from the grid Monday.

Eskom resumed rolling blackouts last Thursday and planned to ration electricity for four straight days after its newest facility, Kusile, lost some generation capacity.

Eskom said: “The return to service of two generation units at Kusile power station that were not available last week has been delayed due to difficulties in restarting the units.” The firm supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity needs but it’s struggling to meet demand even after some economic activities were scaled down due to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus.

The challenges at the stricken company, which is saddled with debts of about 464 billion rand ($30.5 billion), are adding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s woes as he battles to attract new investment and reignite economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

The company, report noted, is in the midst of transforming the business into three separate units to add outside power producers and it’s also beginning a move away from coal as its main fuel.

However, operational issues have plagued even what’s regarded as Eskom’s most reliable plant.

The utility company was forced to shut a unit earlier this month at the Koeberg nuclear facility near Cape Town.

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