Power supply hits critical phase

Eskom slashes usage to avoid system collapse 

Eskom imposed its biggest power cut this year when more than five power generating units failed yesterday.

The cash-strapped utility, which supplies virtually all of South Africa’s power, slashed about 10% of electricity supplies from the national grid as it struggled to avoid a total system collapse.

Eskom said it was moving its controlled outages from stage 2 to stage 3, one step away from a total blackout.

The power utility had lost a third of its generating capacity yesterday afternoon, its worst loss since 2008.

“We need to take 4 000MW off the grid to restore the integrity of the system,” Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

By late yesterday, Eskom had 10 500MW of unplanned outages caused by generators tripping.

This, Phasiwe said, was coupled with the planned cut of 4 000MW for scheduled maintenance.

-TJ Strydom and Shaun Smillie

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