More power blackouts looming in S. Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-06 17:33:26|Editor: Yurou
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CAPE TOWN, March 6 (Xinhua) -- As the South African economy is staggering under a worsening power shortage, the country's electricity utility warned on Wednesday that more power blackouts might be on the way.

The national grid is still "tight and vulnerable," raising the possibility of more load shedding, Eskom warned.

However, the state-run parastatal said load shedding will only be implemented if absolutely necessary.

South Africa has been spared load shedding for the past few days, but the spectre of more power blackouts is still lingering as embattled Eskom is still struggling to meet growing demand.

As the country's major electricity supplier, Eskom provides about 95 percent of the electricity consumed in South Africa. Poor management and alleged corruption have put the utility at the brink of bankruptcy.

High levels of debt and default risk have left Eskom in dire straits. Eskom owes a debt of 420 billion rand (about 30 billion U.S. dollars).

There have been allegations that Eskom implements load shedding to blackmail the government into repaying its debts, but the utility rejected the allegations, saying the power shortage was caused by the breakdown of several power stations.

South Africa has suffered from power insufficiency since 2008. Power cuts, which have cost the economy an estimated 300 billion rand since then, again become commonplace since February this year when Eskom implemented the most extensive load shedding in recent years, plunging large parts of the country into darkness and disrupting economic activities. Sporadic load shedding has continued ever since.

Eskom says it implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total collapse which would have significant impact on the economic development of South Africa.