South Africa to brace for more power cuts


South Africa is projected to experience a long haul of power cuts, which have taking new stages over the past 14 years due to several operational failures under the nation’s electricity public utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.

Eskom is a state-owned company, designated for generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity.

According to a Bloomberg report, South Africa’s economy hangs in the balance not only as country but as the beacon of the continent manufacturing industrial complex and diversified economy.  Eskom projects that there would be power outages expected to take away 6,000 megawatts from the grid, beginning this Monday.

This means that the current power cut off has doubled from the earlier announcement aired on 6 December 2019, which cited the deficit of 2,000 megawatts from its generating capacity.

As highlighted by Bloomberg, this is a result of the company losing its hold on additional generating units at its power stations.

According to the Ministry of Energy, South Africa’s total domestic electricity generation capacity is 51,309 megawatts (MW) from all sources. Approximately 91.2 per cent, or 46,776 MW, comes from thermal power stations, while 4,533 MW, or 8.8 per cent, is generated from renewable energy sources.

An array of reports has indicated the series of longer power cuts which have been taking up to five days, will have devastating impacts on the nation’s economy.

A report by Aljazeera showed that, On October 17 2019, the rand was 0.47 weaker at 14.96 per Us dollar which also hit one week low to 15.055 attributed to electricity outages.

Further, the current state of the utility’s problems emanates from plant failures, and also significant coal-handling challenges, which are triggered by continuous rains and flooding at some power stations.

Moreover, a report by Bloomberg showed that the power cuts are applied to prevent a collapse of the grid and have a debilitating effect on South Africa’s economy, from slowing factory output to crippling traffic jams.

The electricity shortages in the first quarter added to the country’s biggest economic contraction in a decade, which is rooted in Eskom that provides about 95 per cent of South Africa’s electricity struggling with a $31 billion debt load, plus declining revenue and aging plants.

According to Mail and Guardian report, South Africa has been shuffling around its solutions, including coming up with a new energy plan-Integrated Resource Plan, establishing a new road map for Eskom, which comes with the Ministry of Finance assistance to work on the  $ 13 million worth of debt only out of the $ 31 million.

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Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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