South African electricity public utility Eskom has announced that it will implement Stage 6 power cuts starting from Sunday morning. Commonly known as “load shedding”, this increase in power cuts comes after the utility implemented Stage 5 on Saturday after five generating units broke down. According to CEO Andre De Ruyter, the company is looking to avoid a total system collapse.
Eskom, which generates most of its power using aging coal-fired power plants that are prone to breakdowns, aims to gradually shed about 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power in order to prevent the collapse of the national power grid. Stage 6 load shedding will leave South African households without power for at least six hours per day. The last time that Eskom reached Stage 6 was in December 2019.
With the ongoing power cuts hampering economic growth in Africa’s most industrialized nation, public frustration has spiked after the cash-strapped utility announced its intention to seek a 32% rate hike.
During an urgent board meeting on Saturday, Eskom’s board decided that it would approach independent power producers on Monday to procure an additional 1,000 MW. De Ruyter has also made 500 million rand available for the utility to purchase additional diesel.