South Africa’s Eskom Implements Power Blackouts for a Sixth Day

South Africa’s power utility implemented electricity blackouts for a sixth day on Sunday after unplanned outages at several of its units due to technical faults.

Eskom SOC Holdings Ltd. removed 2,000 megawatts at 8 a.m. local time with the load shedding, as the blackouts are known, likely to continue until 10 p.m., the Johannesburg-based company said in an e-mailed statement. The nation has 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity.

“The power system remains severely constrained and will remain so for the rest of the coming week,” Eskom said.

The scheduled blackouts have caused traffic congestion and forced businesses to shut at peak times. South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy, is at a high risk of rolling power outages almost daily until April as Eskom undertakes maintenance that has been postponed in previous years, Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona said Jan. 15.

Eskom said it will use the weekend to build up diesel stocks and dam water levels for its open-cycle gas turbines and pumped storage plants to be able to meet electricity demand in the coming week.

One of the units at the utility’s Koeberg nuclear plant north of Cape Town will be shut down from Monday for scheduled refueling, inspection and maintenance and will probably return at the end of May, Eskom said.

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