South African power company begs citizens to cut usage as blackout persists

South Africa

The struggling public power company in South Africa, Eskom has appealed to South Africans to cut down on their electricity use as it lost four large units to unplanned breakdowns and another two units.

The units which were scheduled to return to service – remain offline, the power utility said on Tuesday.  More than five years ago, South Africa has been struggling to keep the lights on as revenue shortages and dilapidated infrastructure negatively impacted Eskom’s ability to provide stable power for the country.

The grid may remain constrained until the weekend, it warned.

The breakdowns were at Kendal, Majuba and Lethabo, Eskom said, while the delays were at Duvha and Tutuka, and one further unit was taken offline at Kendal due to “technical difficulties” and to address emissions.

According to a report by Fin24, Eskom said it has 31 000 MW available in total to meet demand on Tuesday night, according to the utility.

“While we expect some units to return to service soon, this situation may persist until the weekend. We urge the public to reduce consumption by switching off non-essential appliances in order to maintain the integrity of the system,” said Eskom.

The statement comes on the back of blackouts hitting Johannesburg due to increased demand and a spike in illegal connections.

Eskom avoided load-shedding during the coronavirus lockdown due to reduced usage, but has, with the start of winter, increasingly warned that consumers must cut electricity usage as it battles to meet demand.

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