Eskom Widens Power Cuts in South Africa in 9th Day of Blackouts

South Africa’s electricity utility will double power cuts as it struggles to bring generators back into service in the ninth consecutive day of rolling blackouts.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. will take another 1,000 megawatts off the grid at 6 p.m. Johannesburg time, the company said on its Twitter account on Wednesday. Eskom, which provides about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, said planned and unplanned maintenance has cut generating capacity.

“The power system remains severely constrained and will remain so for the rest of this week,” it said in an earlier statement.

Eskom, which expects power cuts on most days through April, is struggling to meet demand after South Africa failed to invest adequately in generation in the 20 years after its first democratic elections in 1994, even as the government expanded supply to an extra 7 million people.

The blackouts have caused traffic congestion and forced businesses to shut doors at peak times, curbing growth in Africa’s most-industrialized economy. Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. warned on Monday they will suffer production losses if the situation persists.

An average of about 30 percent of Eskom’s installed capacity of 41,995 megawatts has been out of service since the start of the year due to breakdowns or planned maintenance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using information provided by the utility twice weekly.

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