South Africa’s Eskom Restoring Power Units to Reduce Outage Risk

South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. restored power to two of the four power-generating units that had shut down this morning, leaving a “moderate” risk of more blackouts, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

Lighting struck two units at Eskom’s Matimba coal plant while a unit each at the Duvha and Matla stations were hit by mechanical problems, knocking out 2,530 megawatts of generation capacity, Phasiwe said in a phone interview. The damage has been fixed at one of Matimba’s units and at Duvha, he said.

“We are cautiously confident that we will not have to load shed,” Phasiwe said, referring to the local term for rolling blackouts. “We would like to remind everyone that our power system is very vulnerable. When we have a problem like this it will send shivers across the user network. The risk now is moderate at this stage,” he said.

State-owned Eskom has instituted managed blackouts as it struggles to meet demand in Africa’s second-biggest economy. There is a high risk of more cuts in February and March and the power supplies will remain constrained for another two years, according to Eskom.

The company earlier today on its Twitter feed asked its customers to refrain from using non-essential appliances to reduce power consumption. Some businesses are closed today for a national holiday.

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