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South Africa intensifies power cuts as winter demand climbs


Power Line PHOTO: Reuters

South Africa’s embattled power utility Eskom on Wednesday announced severe nationwide power cuts, blaming rising electricity demand as winter sets in alongside breakdowns at two power plants.


The power company said in a statement that the expanded electricity rationing would last from 2 pm until 10 pm from Wednesday through to Sunday.

It said that the escalated power cuts were to “ration the remaining emergency generation reserves, which have been depleted.”

Eskom is at the centre of the country’s economic troubles, and had in recent weeks been implementing less drastic power cuts, known locally as loadshedding.

The producer of most of the country’s electricity, it is one of South Africa’s ailing state-owned companies, laden with debt and struggling to recover from years of alleged mismanagement.
South Africa, the continent’s leading industrialised country and a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, generates more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants that regularly break down, causing blackouts.

“It is not realistic to expect us to hold the same timeframe as developed countries for the transition of our economies and disinvestment in fossil fuels,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a climate change meeting of African leaders on Tuesday.


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