Load-shedding to continue as Eskom battles shortages

Stage 4 load-shedding enters its fifth day, as power utility Eskom continues to battle shortage of capacity. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom will make more power cuts this week as it struggles with capacity shortages that threaten to stymie President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to boost investments and economic growth.

Eskom supplies more than 90 percent of the power in South Africa but has suffered repeated faults at its coal-fired power stations, along with low water levels at hydroelectric plants and diesel shortages.

Ramaphosa said on Monday that the power cuts were very worrying and authorities were working every hour of the day to restore power.

READ: Government working on load-shedding problem: Ramaphosa

The situation worsened on Saturday after Eskom lost its electricity imports from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric system in Mozambique, which contributes more than 1,000 MW to the South African grid, after a powerful cyclone.

Eskom said late on Sunday it would continue to implement rolling blackouts on Monday and Tuesday with 4,000 megawatts to be cut from the grid on a rotational basis.

Businesses have been disrupted, particularly the small- and medium-sized firms which do not have access to backup power sources such as diesel generators.

READ: LOAD-SHEDDING: Schedules, info, and how it affects you

The Ministry of Public Enterprises, which oversees Eskom, said in a statement late on Sunday that the utility would be assisted to fast-track the procurement of essential goods and services required to rehabilitate and repair power generating units.

To supplement its ageing power plants, Eskom is developing the Kusile and Medupi projects, but both are years behind schedule and tens of billions of rands over budget. The few units at Kusile and Medupi that are online, perform unreliably.