South Africa’s electricity crisis is costing the economy as much as R899-million/day, according to central bank estimates.
Rolling blackouts of about six to 12 hours a day, or so-called stage-3 and stage-6 outages, detract between R204-million and R899-million from the economy daily, the South African Reserve Bank said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday.
The company, which produces almost all of South Africa’s electricity has imposed stage-6 cuts, the most severe yet, for 10 days so far this year.
The Reserve Bank lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 0.3% from 1.1%, with governor Lesetja Kganyago saying power disruptions will shave two percentage points off output growth. It predicts that electricity will be rationed for 250 days in 2023, which if realised will be a record.
While outages have affected the country for about 15 years, the economy is now experiencing its worst bout of power rationing yet with cuts occurring for more than 200 days in 2022 and every day this year. Blackouts are likely to continue for at least two more years as Eskom overhauls its electricity generation fleet.
Eskom has repeatedly said an additional 4-6GW of electricity generating capacity is needed to end load shedding.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce measures to address the crisis in his state of the nation address on Thursday. In January, the National Energy Crisis Committee was planning a new law to fast-track plant development. The body is run out of the president’s office. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP