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Eskom Power Blackout Fuels Concern Over South Africa Ratings

  • Utility cuts 2,000 megawatts from grid for plant maintenance
  • Outages have been major constraint on economic growth, output
An Eskom load-shedding power outage in Pretoria, South Africa in February.
An Eskom load-shedding power outage in Pretoria, South Africa in February.Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the state-owned South African utility that provides about 95% of the nation’s electricity, implemented power cuts on Wednesday amid maintenance problems. The rand weakened as investors fretted about the effect on economic growth.

Power shortages have been a major constraint on output in Africa’s most industrialized economy. Protracted outages could cost the country its last investment-grade credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, which is due to deliver its next assessment on Nov. 1. The government has said it will announce plans to restructure Eskom into three operating units and reorganize its debt by the end of the month.