Thursday, December 7

S.Africa’s Eskom extends daily power cuts for next week amid capacity shortage

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JOHANNESBURG — South African state power utility Eskom said on Sunday it would extend daily power cuts all through next week as generation capacity shortage continues.

Striking workers, delay in maintenance and creaking old thermal power plants have forced the monopoly power supplier of South Africa to implement one of the worst power cuts in more than two years.

“As the generation capacity shortages persist over the next few weeks, load-shedding will continue to be implemented at various stages,” the utility said in a statement, cautioning that it will still take a few weeks for the power generation system to fully recover to pre-strike levels.

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The company will implement ‘stage 6’ level of power cut from Monday afternoon with lower levels in the remaining hours, it said

‘Stage 6’ is a level of power cut on an eight level system which essentially means Eskom will have to take off almost 6000 megawatts (MW) of capacity from the grid, and based on other levels, South Africans could see between six and eight hours of power cut in a day.

Eskom has a nominal generation capacity of just over 45,000 MW out of which 3384 MW is on planned maintenance, while another 18319 MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns, it said, forcing the company to implement the power cut.

While the company had been regularly implementing power cuts in the country since the beginning of the year, the power supply scenario worsened from last week as the company failed to agree on a wage deal with its workers. This led to the workers going on strike.

While any workers have returned to work, it is still not enough to fill the gap in maintenance delays and restore power supply, the company had said earlier in the week. (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)