South Africa Sees ‘Low to Medium’ Chance of Power Cuts

South Africa’s electricity utility said it sees a “low to medium” probability of power outages on Thursday.

“The system remains constrained,” state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said via its Twitter account.

Eskom removed 1,000 megawatts from the grid at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, then doubled that at 6 p.m., before halting load shedding, as the rolling blackouts are known locally, at 10:30 p.m. The Johannesburg-based utility provides about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity.

“We are expecting a few generating units to be brought back on stream later today, a move that will greatly assist in stabilising the national power grid,” spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said in an e-mailed response to questions on Thursday.

Eskom is struggling to meet demand after South Africa failed to adequately invest in generation in the 20 years after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, even as the government expanded supply to an extra 7 million people. There is a high risk of rolling power outages almost daily until April, Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona said Jan. 15.

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 because of breakdowns or planned maintenance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using information provided by the utility twice weekly.

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