Eskom announced its first rolling blackouts after an almost three-week respite on Tuesday, hours after the nation’s statistics office published data showing the economy contracted in the second quarter when it was hit by record power outages.
Eskom will implement stage 2 load-shedding, where it will cut 2,000 megawatts from the grid, until 10 September, it said on Twitter. If the utility sticks to these plans, it will bring the total days of blackouts in the third quarter to 34.
South Africa’s economy contracted in the three months through June as the worst flooding in almost three decades and outages on more than half of the days in the second quarter weighed on output.
Eskom’s continued struggle to meet electricity demand from its old power stations that continually break down after years of insufficient maintenance weighs on economic growth and business confidence.
This week’s blackouts were caused after generation units at five coal-fired plants broke down, and unit 2 of Africa’s sole nuclear plant north of Cape Town tripped. Eskom said that restarting of the unit at the nuclear plant is underway.