The electricity crisis was further aggravated Monday in South Africa after the decision of the national company to intensify current rationing imposed for several days to its users because of inclement weather.
These « load shedding » are the most serious suffered by the first industrial power of the African continent for ten years.
Since Thursday, the public group Eskom, which supplies 95% of the country’s electricity, is forced to suspend the electricity supply of a portion of its users due to, according to the company, rainfall that has wet coal stocks feeding its power plants.
On Monday, a technical problem in a plant forced him to reduce his supply of 6,000 megawatts, with a total production capacity of 44,000 megawatts.
« The incessant rains have begun to flood plants, which has further increased the decline in our production capacity, » justified, sheepishly, the public group.
On Monday, diamond company Petra Diamonds announced the suspension of its activities in South Africa, for lack of electricity.
Crisis of state companies
Most of the electricity produced by Eskom comes from poorly designed, old and poorly maintained coal-fired power plants, a situation that regularly causes power cuts.
The group also collapses under an abysmal debt of 26 billion euros and announced in July a record net loss of 20.7 billion rand (1.3 billion euros) for the year ended in March latest.
Several South African public companies are facing serious difficulties, resulting from years of mismanagement and corruption under the presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009-2018).
Last week, the airline South African Airways (SAA), under drip of public money for years, was placed in recovery to avoid bankruptcy.
« We will not let down these strategic enterprises, » promised President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, « we will take all necessary measures, including the most drastic, to get them back on their feet ».
Power outages are weighing on the country’s sluggish economy, under threat of a further deterioration in its financial rating.