JOHANNESBURG – South African state utility Eskom stepped up rolling blackouts on Saturday as it lost 900 megawatts of electricity imports from neighbouring Mozambique, which was hit this week by a cyclone.
Eskom, which generates nearly all of the power for Africa’s most industrialised economy, said that it had cut 4,000 megawatts, double the 2,000 MW it had said would be cut over the weekend after repeated faults at its coal-fired power stations.
The situation worsened on Saturday after a fall in electricity exports from Mozambique, which is cleaning up after a powerful cyclone knocked out communications and electricity pylons on Thursday.
Eskom’s problems are a challenge for President Cyril Ramaphosa as they are holding back efforts to haul the economy out of a slump before a national election in May.
Ramaphosa’s government has promised to inject 23 billion rand ($1.6 billion) a year over the next three years to shore up Eskom’s finances. It has also asked a team of experts to come up with a plan to fix Eskom’s creaking coal plants.
($1 = 14.4096 rand)(Reuters)