South Africa's utility firm Eskom announces load shedding exercise

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South Africa’s state-owned power utility company, Eskom on Wednesday announced major power cuts.

The company will begin rationing electricity to consumers to cope with increasing demand due to the cold weather as the southern winter begins.

In a statement, Eskom said the loading shedding exercise will be implemented from 14:00 to 22:00 local time.

It is not clear how long the rationing will last, but the statement cited technical problems.

Other planned cuts are expected in the days ahead, it said.

These regular power cuts are also as a result of poor performance by Eskom’s aging and poorly maintained power plants. These plants are reportedly South Africa’s biggest polluter.

As Africa’s leading industrialized country and a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, the Southern Africa nation generates over 80% of electricity from coal.

Currently it is lagging behind in the energy transition.

At a virtual meeting of the African Heads of State Committee on Climate Change on Tuesday in preparation for Africa’s participation in COP26, President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed that “It is not realistic to expect us to hold the same timeframes as developed countries for transitioning our economies and divesting from fossil fuels.”