Eskom warns SA to brace for heavier, more frequent loadshedding over next 18 months

SOUTH Africa’s beleaguered power utility, Eskom, told its customers to brace for regular rotational power cuts over the next 18 months as it embarks on an aggressive maintenance plan to overhaul its ageing coal-fired plants and halt a prolonged period of unexpected breakdowns.

The stepped-up maintenance programme is intended to stabilise the country’s neglected power grid after the worst year on record of managed power outages – known locally as loadshedding – hobbled economic growth and spooked investors.

“We will have to expect some increase in loadshedding which we will do in a structured, carefully managed way to give us the space to fix what needs to be fixed. Otherwise there is a risk that the deterioration will continue,” Andre de Ruyter, the utility’s newly appointed CEO, said at a media briefing.

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