South Africa has had 100 consecutive days of rolling blackouts, the longest stretch yet, with more to come as its electricity crisis deepens.
Eskom, the state-owned company that produces almost all the electricity in South Africa, has imposed blackouts daily since 31 October, making Tuesday, 7 February the 100th straight day of outages.
Load shedding is needed to protect the grid from collapse when Eskom’s ageing and poorly maintained and mostly coal-fed plants can’t meet demand, which happened on 200 days over 2022.
Outages have afflicted the country for about 15 years and are likely to continue for at least two more as Eskom overhauls its electricity-generating fleet.
The utility is trying to lift its energy availability factor — a measure of how much capacity can be used — to 70% by March 2025 from about half currently, and needs an additional 4GW to 6GW of generating capacity to end the blackouts.
The South African Reserve Bank has reduced its economic growth forecast for this year to 0.3%, from 1.1% previously, with governor Lesetja Kganyago saying power disruptions will shave two percentage points off output growth in 2023. Economists in a Bloomberg survey see a 45% chance of the nation slipping into recession this year. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP