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Load shedding: Power cuts to halve by end of week

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Eskom Holdings will halve the amount of power it removes from the national grid to 1 000 megawatts from 4 p.m. on October 14.

Before that, the utility will continue to cut 2 000 megawatts from 4 p.m. until midnight on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a statement on Twitter. It will publish a further update on the afternoon of 14 October.

“To the extent possible, Eskom will endeavour to limit load shedding to night-time to have minimal impact on the economy and population,” it said, using a local term for rolling blackouts.

Eskom will sign the first contracts to lease land to five independent power producers on Friday so that they can develop renewable energy projects, the utility said.

The company in June announced it had selected 18 companies to lease sites at its power plants. The bids for about 4 000 hectares are ultimately for projects expected to realise 1 800 megawatts of renewable energy capacity.

Citizens are angry over the nation’s record power cuts and politicians are seeking to deflect blame for a crisis that’s been a quarter century in the making.

Stung by criticism, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa raced home from Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in the UK, canceling plans to travel on to United Nations’ meetings. An announcement followed that the board of state power utility Eskom had been replaced and an ambitious efficiency target for its predominantly coal-fired plants was set. Action had been taken.

Yet, in the government’s pronouncements on the crisis, some inconvenient facts have been omitted.

South Africa’s government will seek cabinet approval for a R3.9 trillion plan to transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity in order to secure funding from some of the world’s richest nation.

A second draft of the investment plan has been completed and is being shared with “key stakeholders” ahead of its submission to cabinet, said Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The development marks a significant step toward completing the pact with the funding partners — the UK, US, Germany, France and the European Union — which was first announced at the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow last year.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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