Eskom, the country’s largest producer of electricity, has reduced production to an unprecedented level
South Africa’s state-owned electricity provider, Eskom, was forced to further slash power output on Tuesday, spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in a tweet.
According to Mantshantsha, the company cut 7,045 megawatts from the grid, in a move known as load shedding, with the total available electricity distributed across the country, effectively leaving large parts of it without power. Earlier cuts removed no more than 6,000 megawatts. The spokesman confirmed that the company had to increase the intensity of the cuts because it cannot meet demand.
Eskom supplies most of South Africa’s electricity from coal-fired plants. The company has been slashing production because more than half of its capacity in unavailable due to frequent breakdowns at its ageing power stations. Eskom earlier said that the country needs an additional 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts of generating capacity to eliminate the supply-demand gap. However, initiatives to add capacity from private producers have been stalled by legal troubles.
The country has suffered power outages every day this year, according to a report from Bloomberg. The South African Reserve Bank recently said the blackouts cost the country about 899 million rand ($49 million) per day.
Earlier this month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster over the electricity crisis. The declaration is expected to enable the government to exempt essential services such as hospitals and water treatment plants from power cuts, and allow the country to buy additional power from its neighbors on an emergency basis, among other measures.