Eskom warns that power cuts could escalate if strained power grid worsens

Eskom said that over the past few days, there were unforeseen breakdowns to its fragile infrastructure, while undisclosed issues at its plant in Zambia have also affected the entire southern African grid.

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JOHANNESBURG - Eskom said that it may ramp up rolling power cuts should the situation worsen throughout the week.

The embattled power utility extended stage 2 blackouts at short notice over the weekend, blaming it on ongoing insufficient generation capacity and the inability to replenish emergency reserves. As things stand, we'll have to put up with the latest round of stage 2 rolling blackouts until 5am on Saturday.

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As the company struggles to keep the lights on, South African households and businesses are bearing the brunt.

It's a bleak start to the workweek for thousands of South Africans across the country, as the power cuts are set to continue throughout the week.

Eskom said that over the past few days, there were unforeseen breakdowns to its fragile infrastructure, while undisclosed issues at its plant in Zambia have also affected the entire southern African grid.

Economist Gina Schoeman said that the cost of living was becoming increasingly more difficult.

"The power cuts themselves make it very difficult but secondly, when these power cuts are unexpected or when they jump in severity, say from stage 2 to stage 4, it makes it very difficult to manage business around these severe unplanned power outages."

Schoeman said that households should expect the trend to continue into the festive season.

Eskom said that 12 generating units were expected to be brought back online this week, which should help stabilise the grid.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha: "There was a major incident in Zambia and during this incident, the imported power from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique was reduced by 1,000 megawatts while the Tutuka generator also tripped. Furthermore, Tutuka power station was forced to shut down while there were further delays in returning a unit each at Lethabo and Majuba power stations. On Saturday, a unit each at Medupi and Matla power station tripped."