March 12, 2020 / 7:37 AM / 18 days ago

South Africa's ailing Eskom says power cuts to last indefinitely

JOHANNESBURG, March 12 (Reuters) - Nationwide power cuts across South Africa of up to 4,000 megawatts will last indefinitely, state power firm Eskom said on Thursday, as repairs take longer than anticipated.

Eskom had said on Wednesday the outages would last only until Friday.

The latest blackouts, referred to locally as loadshedding, were triggered by breakdowns this week at a score of generating units, including at Koeberg nuclear plant in Cape Town.

“Due to a shortage of generation capacity resulting from unplanned breakdowns, Eskom will continue implementing Stage 4 loadshedding until further notice. We expect that loadshedding, at various stages, may continue into the weekend,” Eskom said in a statement.

“The pump fault on Koeberg Unit 1 is being fixed, and it is envisaged that the unit will be back in service at the weekend. In the meantime, we continue utilising emergency generation reserves, including diesel, to supplement supply,” Eskom said.

Eskom has been battling repeated problems with its coal-fired power stations, prompting power cuts and dragging the economy into its second recession in as many years.

Mining and manufacturing data due later on Thursday are expected to reflect the impact of unreliable power supply. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by Jason Neely)

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