South Africa’s Eskom to Extend ‘Stage 4’ Power Cuts

South Africa’s state power utility Eskom said it would implement “Stage 4” rotational power cuts throughout Thursday and Friday, with the possibility of lower stages from Saturday morning.

“In view of the shortage of generation capacity and the need to carry out unplanned maintenance to return units to service, we unfortunately have to implement loadshedding (power cuts),” Eskom said in a statement.

“Stage 4” power cuts will require up to 4,000 megawatts to be shed from the grid. This is the latest update in a series of changes to the load shedding schedule in recent days.

Temporary commercial and communications disruptions are possible while load shedding and unscheduled interruptions are taking place. Cellular and mobile services could be affected. Trains may also experience delays if outages impact signaling devices or overhead wires.

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Power outages could also result in the temporary unavailability of essential services such as ATMs and filling stations. There is an increased security threat during power outages. Blackouts could adversely affect security protocols, including alarm systems and electronic fences; opportunistic criminal activity could increase during electricity outages.

Malfunctioning traffic signals could increase disruptions, and the lack of public lighting could increase the risk of driving at night.

Load shedding requires switching off parts of South Africa’s electric grid in a planned and controlled manner due to insufficient capacity or to avoid a countrywide blackout.

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