No End in Sight for South Africa Power Cuts Amid Break Downs

Medupi power station in Marapong, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu)

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. staff are working to assess the system breakdowns, Public Enterprises Minister

Pravin Gordhan said Tuesday. The utility’s operations have reached “crisis” level, Chairman

Jabu Mabuza said.

Key Insights

The latest cuts were caused by breakdowns and compounded over the weekend by a loss of power imports from neighbouring Mozambique, which was hit by a devastating cyclone. With just two months to go before national elections, the outages are a growing embarrassment for the ruling African National Congress.

The utility is struggling to emerge from years of mismanagement, allegations of corruption and ballooning debt caused by cost overruns at two large new plants. The new facilities are not only massively over-budget and behind schedule but also defective and have contributed to the latest outages.
Many of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants are old and unplanned breakdowns have increased after the company skimped on maintenance as its financial situation worsened. The utility is also spending large amounts of money on diesel to run turbines designed for peak use. DM


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