Business Maverick

Business Maverick

South Africa Set for Worst Year of Power Cuts as Plants Fail

The Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. Matla coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga, South Africa on Monday, March 21, 2022. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

South Africa is headed for a record year of power cuts if the rate of station breakdowns fails to improve, particularly at coal-fueled plants. 

State-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said it will again ration electricity on Tuesday after various generation units were shut for repairs or didn’t return to service as expected. That means nationwide cuts will have occurred on seven of the 10 days in May so far, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Record Outages | South Africa's electricity rationing on pace for annual record

Africa’s most industrialized nation was already on track to exceed the annual record for energy shed from controlled blackouts, a practice locally known as loadshedding that’s used to prevent the grid from a total collapse. There were 1,054 gigawatt hours cut through April versus 2,521 in the entire year earlier, itself a record, according to a report by the state-owned Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The crisis surrounding Eskom, which generates almost all the nation’s electricity including 80% from burning coal, causes disruption to both daily life in South Africa and economic activity. The ongoing outages have increased pressure on Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter, while government programs to build new generation have faced various delays.

Wasted Energy | Eskom is dogged by unplanned breakdowns at its plants

Beyond the operational issues, the utility has a massive debt pile and the distraction of an ongoing reorganization. Phillip Dukashe, Eskom’s group executive for generation, quit on Monday after 26 years at the company. Eskom and the government are also working on plans to utilize $8.5 billion of funding pledged at the COP26 climate summit with the aim of moving South Africa away from coal.

–With assistance from Rene Vollgraaff.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz