SA risks unprecedented power outages

South Africa is facing a risk of an unprecedented level of load shedding this week after units at two of its coal-fired power plants broke down.

Eskom earlier yesterday began cutting 6 000MW from the national grid, in what it calls Stage 6 power cuts, after generation units tripped at the Kusile and Kriel power stations.

That’s sufficient energy to supply almost 4 million South African homes.

The nation is now at risk of breaching Stage 6, the utility’s CEO André de Ruyter said at a briefing yesterday when asked if the situation might worsen.

Eskom started withdrawing 6 000MW from the grid in June. That was the first time since 2019.

The ongoing blackouts — the worst year on record — were a major contributor to the economy’s 0.7% contraction in the second quarter. Severe outages are a hazard to workers in deep-level mines and hurts manufacturing across Africa’s most-industrialised nation. Eskom also poses a significant risk to public finances, with the government guaranteeing as much as R350 billion rand of its debt. — news24

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