South Africa’s power system has deteriorated further, leading to continued power outages across the country, electricity utility Eskom said on Friday.

The power system has an additional shortage of about generation capacity of 1,500MW, said the state-run parastatal which provides more than 95 percent of the electricity consumed in the country.

“As a result we will regrettably maintain stage-two loadshedding for the greater part of today,” said Eskom.

Eskom Chair and acting CEO Jabu Mabuza told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday that thanks to the restoration of some power generating units, only stage-one load shedding would be implemented on Friday.

Stage one allows up to 1,000MW of the national load to be shed once a day, while stage two allows up to 2,000MW to be shed.

“Since the media briefing last night, we have had a major setback as we have lost additional capacity from Medupi power station,” Eskom said.

Late last night, Eskom lost Medupi 3, 4 and 5 units due to coal and ash handling issues, in addition to the conveyer belt that failed on October 12 at the power station, the utility said.

Medupi, one of the major power stations in Limpopo Province, broke down on Wednesday, leading to the latest round of load shedding after a respite of seven months.

“We apologise unreservedly to our customers and South Africans for the short notification,” Eskom said.

Load shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout.

Also on Friday, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the public needs clear answers from Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on the state of affairs at the beleaguered power utility.

The DA has written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request that Eskom’s entire executive and board as well as Gordhan be summonsed to appear before the committee for their evident inability to deal with the power crisis.

“South Africa cannot afford to leap from blackout to blackout without any political and board accountability,” the party said.

These rolling blackouts will no doubt have consequences on productivity and job security, it said. Enditem

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