Power cuts will plunge South Africa into darkness


Johannesburg, Sep 18 (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – Sep 19, 2022): Africa’s most industrialized economy South Africa is once again facing sweeping power cuts, caused by breakdowns in aging infrastructure and poorly maintained, the nationalized utility company said Sunday.

Andre de Ruyter, the boss of state-owned Eskom, announced a series of blackouts expected in the coming week.

Urging South Africans to use electricity sparingly, he called for office lights to be turned off at night and pool pumps and heaters to be turned off during peak hours.

“If everyone plays their part, we can manage the demand,” De Ruyter told reporters.

Developing efficient large-scale production capacity “will take time,” the CEO added.

A spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa told AFP he would return home as soon as he attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London to deal with the crisis.

The president will not attend the UN General Assembly next week in New York, the spokesperson added.

On an eight-point scale of continuous outages, the country has reached the sixth critical stage, which means that households and businesses will face multiple outages lasting several hours a day.

Level six was last observed in June, in the middle of the austral winter, amid rising energy consumption and pressure on production.

The rise in temperatures since September with the arrival of spring generally leads to a drop in consumption, in particular due to a drop in the demand for heating.

Eskom generally takes advantage of this period to shut down production units for maintenance.

But a high number of breakdowns – 45 in the space of seven days – led to a dramatic drop in production.

After years of mismanagement and corruption, state-owned Eskom is unable to produce enough energy for the country, which is regularly plunged into darkness.

Demonstrators often protest against the deterioration of public services.

South Africa produces 80% of its electricity from coal, creating serious pollution deplored by environmentalists.

The country secured 7.7 billion euros for its energy transition at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow last year.


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