Eskom will cut 5GW from the national grid until further notice. It will continue to implement stage-5 load shedding because of higher than anticipated demand, it said on Twitter.
The utility’s previous plan was to trim power cuts to 3GW from 5am on Wednesday.
South Africa has endured more than 100 days of rotational blackouts this year as Eskom struggles to meet demand with its ageing coal-fired power plants that regularly break down.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that it could take as long as five days to repair and install new power pylons that supply parts of South Africa’s capital, Beeld reported, citing Eskom’s acting spokeswoman, Daphne Mokwena.
Seven high-tension electricity towers in the north-east of Tshwane, which includes Pretoria, collapsed at the weekend, cutting power supplies to the area. That included Silverton, where Ford has a 720-vehicle-a-day assembly plant. The factory has already lost a full day of production, Fin24 reported, citing Neale Hill, president of Ford Africa.
Theft and vandalism often hamper power supply in South Africa as criminals target electricity infrastructure.
The Solidarity labour union is demanding inflation-beating pay increases for its members who work at Eskom.
Solidarity wants a raise of the average inflation rate plus three percentage points for all workers, it said. The union’s mandate is to negotiate a multi-year agreement. Average consumer-price growth in South Africa was 6.9% last year.
Eskom agreed to a 7% wage increase for workers last year after illegal protests, in which roads to power plants were blocked, cars were set on fire and petrol bombs were thrown at company managers’ homes.
South Africa’s electricity minister called for more state funding and exemptions on emissions limits at coal-fired power plants to help ease the nation’s energy crisis.
The measures are among a raft of proposals Kgosientsho Ramokgopa will submit to the cabinet this month. Eskom doesn’t have the money to invest in its capital equipment, and so it will have to seek funding elsewhere, he told reporters on Thursday in Pretoria. — Reported with Paul Burkhardt, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP