South Africa’s Eskom records 100 days without a power cut since 2020

<div>South Africa’s Eskom records 100 days without a power cut since 2020</div>
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South Africa's Eskom records 100 days without a power cut since 2020

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. announced on Friday that the country has reached 100 days without any so-called load-shedding.

  • Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. announces 100 days without load-shedding in South Africa
  • Aggressive maintenance and recovery plan attributed to the achievement.
  • The last time Eskom was able to deliver an uninterrupted power supply for that length of time occurred between September and December 2020.

According to Eskom’s statement, this achievement is attributed to a recovery plan initiated in March 2023 and the “aggressive” maintenance of the company’s power plants.

Eskom’s inability to maintain its ageing fleet of generating facilities, combined with mismanagement and corruption, left the company unable to meet electricity demand, resulting in record outages last year, Bloomberg reported.

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This negatively impacted output at South African businesses and led to the slowest rate of expansion since the pandemic in 2020, when the economy grew by only 0.7%.

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“The absence of load-shedding not only benefits our economy and businesses but also enhances the quality of the lives of our citizens,” Electricity and Energy Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said in a statement.

The last time Eskom was able to deliver an uninterrupted power supply for that length of time occurred between September and December 2020.

Eskom, burdened with heavy debt and facing declining revenue, has been striving for years to ramp up repairs to its coal-fired power plants, which constitute the core of its generation fleet.

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In 2023, the utility received a 254 billion rand ($14 billion) bailout, disbursed in instalments contingent on meeting performance benchmarks set by the Treasury. However, these transfers were scaled back in February.

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The improved electricity performance is raising confidence. The South African Reserve Bank projects the economy will grow 1.2% this year, based on assumptions that include 180 days of load-shedding that it says will lower output by half a percentage point. It’s open to adjusting the outlook if the lights stay on for longer.

While Eskom warns the danger of load shedding remains, the situation may continue to improve.

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