South African utility reinstates power cuts from Monday

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s utility Eskom said on Sunday it would resume power cuts from Monday to Wednesday overnight to deal with unplanned outages and restore generation capacity.

The beleaguered utility, which relies on aging coal-fired power plants that often break down, has been enforcing blackouts around the country – known locally as load shedding – for more than a decade.

The crisis has worsened this year with the high cost of diesel and the lack of its availability on the international market.

“Wherever possible, Eskom will strive to limit load shedding to overnight to have minimal impact on the economy and people,” the utility said in a statement, adding that it would implement approximately two power outage hours from 1600 premises. hour (GMT 1400) until midnight.

“The load shedding will be used to replenish emergency generation reserves overnight to bolster generation capacity.”

Until mid-September, Eskom had already implemented more than 100 days of power outages, with several major cities experiencing power outages of more than six hours in recent times.

Frequent power surges when power was restored also led to a slew of local outages in cables and transformers, leaving some localities in the commercial capital Johannesburg without power for days.

Eskom currently has 5,487 megawatts (MW) under planned maintenance, while an additional 14,061 MW of capacity was unavailable due to outages, the company said.

It has about 45000 MW of installed capacity.

(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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