Eskom Foresees No South Africa Rolling Power Blackouts This Week

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said it saw a low risk that it would resume rolling blackouts in South Africa this week after cuts over the weekend enabled the power utility to refuel some capacity.

Customers across the country endured scheduled cuts from Nov. 21-23 after the company had to restock backup units and as some generators at its second- and third-largest coal-fired plants tripped. Eskom had to reduce the load on the grid by as many as 2,000 megawatts yesterday, known as Stage 2 load-shedding. To prevent a total collapse of the system, it ordered large industrial customers to lower use by at least 10 percent for five hours yesterday.

“We are certainly taking strain and we apologize to our customers, we know there has been a lot of frustration,” Andrew Etzinger, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based company, said on state-owned SAfm radio. The preservation measures have “put us in a position where in the coming week we’ve got a good chance of coming through without load-shedding, despite quite a lot of pressure from out supply chain.”

The utility, which generates more than 95 percent of South Africa’s power, is struggling to meet demand in the continent’s second-largest economy as its facilities age and construction of new plants is delayed. It was forced to implement managed blackouts earlier this month after a coal silo cracked and collapsed, blocking conveyor lines to units at Majuba, its second-largest plant.

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