Following last week’s round of power cuts, South African utility provider Eskom said Monday that the likelihood of load-shedding episodes in the coming week was low – but some South Africans said they were still seeing hours-long blackouts anyway.
“The system remains constrained and vulnerable and any unexpected shift, such as unplanned breakdowns, could result in load-shedding at short notice,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly.”
That’s a challenge as a heat wave wraps around parts of South Africa and neighboring nations including Botswana, where temperatures were forecast to hit or exceed 40C. The hot temperatures led Eskom to ask people to use air conditioning responsibly as well.
“We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly,” the company added.
The long-embattled Eskom came under fire last week after more rounds of load-shedding, which affected millions of people and put the country’s plans to reorganize Eskom under scrutiny. The power shutoffs prompted President Cyril Ramaphosa to issue a statement Monday in support of reforms.
“The cost to our economy of power outages is significant. It contributes to investor unease at a time when we are trying to attract more domestic and foreign capital to South Africa and to improve our global rankings on ease of doing business,” Ramaphosa said. “It is also understandable that South Africans became frustrated and angry.”
The South African president’s complete statement on Eskom and the country’s new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is available here.