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South Africa suffers power cuts as Eskom units break down

  • 1 year, 11 months ago (2019-12-06)
  • David Flin
Africa 251 Distribution 75 Transmission 116

South Africa was hit by power cuts on 5 December after a number of generating units broke down, forcing the state utility Eskom to cut 2000MW from the national grid on a rotational basis. The struggles with reliability of power supply is hampering efforts to bring growth to the South African economy.

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Eskom produces more than 90 per cent of South Africa’s power, but has struggled to keep up with demand, leading to nationwide power cuts that have deterred investment.

Eskom said in a statement: “The severe supply constraint being experienced has come about due to high levels of unplanned breakdowns that have exceeded the 10,500MW limit.” Earlier on 5 December, Eskom said that there were unplanned breakdowns of generating units with 12,300MW capacity, and that it has since experienced a loss of additional generation. Eskom has a total of around 45,000MW of generating capacity.

Eskom said that power cuts would occur from 4pm to 11pm in order to protect the power system from a total collapse.