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Eskom's code red continues

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Eskom can't be allowed to fail, say experts. Photo: Getty Images
Eskom can't be allowed to fail, say experts. Photo: Getty Images

Eskom’s inability to provide enough power to drive the economy as demand picks up, coupled with the government’s sluggish pace of procuring new generation capacity, looks set to thwart South Africa’s fragile recovery after the coronavirus pandemic in the months ahead.

Despite the best efforts of its new leadership, the state-owned entity’s stepped-up maintenance programme has failed to restore Eskom’s ageing fleet of coal-fired plants to the point where they can provide a stable supplyof electricity, and several of them are due to be decommissioned by 2030.

At the same time, design flaws at the two new plants which were to have provided power to a growing economy – Medupi and Kusile– are proving difficult to correct, and they are not performing as expected, adding to the maintenance burden as old units elsewhere unexpectedly break down.

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