Eskom extends load shedding due to lack of capacity

South Africa’s debt-laden power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd is extending power cuts to Monday after delays in restarting some key generation units.

The state-owned company said it will continue with the planned power outages, cutting 2,000 megawatts from the grid on Monday.

Eskom resumed rolling blackouts last Thursday and planned to ration electricity for four straight days after its newest facility, Kusile, lost some generation capacity.

“The return to service of two generation units at Kusile power station that were not available last week has been delayed due to difficulties in restarting the units,” Eskom said in a statement.

The firm supplies about 95% of South Africa’s electricity needs but it’s struggling to meet demand even after some economic activities were scaled down due to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

The challenges at the stricken company, which is saddled with debts of about R464 billion ($30.5 billion), are adding to president Cyril Ramaphosa’s woes as he battles to attract new investment and reignite economic growth in Africa’s most industrialized economy.

The company is in the midst of transforming the business into three separate units to add outside power producers and it’s also beginning a move away from coal as its main fuel.

Operational issues have plagued even what’s regarded as Eskom’s most reliable plant. It was forced to shut a unit earlier this month at the Koeberg nuclear facility near Cape Town.

Read: Eskom expects power shortages on a weekly basis for the next three months

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Eskom extends load shedding due to lack of capacity