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Eskom sees ‘low to medium’ chance of power cuts

The system remains constrained.

South Africa’s electricity utility said it sees a “low to medium” probability of power outages on Thursday.

“The system remains constrained,” state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said its via Twitter account.

Eskom removed 1,000 megawatts from the grid at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and doubled this at 6 p.m. until it halted load shedding, as the rolling blackouts are locally known, at 10:30 p.m. The utility provides about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity.

Eskom is struggling to meet demand after South Africa failed to invest adequately in generation in the 20 years after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, even as the government expanded supply to an extra 7 million people. There is a high risk of rolling power outages almost daily until April, Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona said Jan. 15.

The blackouts have caused traffic congestion and forced businesses to shut doors at peak times, curbing growth in Africa’s most-industrialized economy. Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. warned on Monday they will suffer production losses if the situation persists.

An average of about 30 percent of Eskom’s installed capacity of 41,995 megawatts has been out of service since the start of the year because of breakdowns or planned maintenance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using information provided by the utility twice weekly.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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