The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday warned cash-strapped state power utility Eskom against using rolling blackouts as a bargaining tool for more money.

The company said it was implementing “stage 2” rotational load shedding from 9am to 11pm – which involves suppressing 2 000MW of demand to avoid tripping the national power grid – citing a shortage of capacity.

The move comes after Eskom, which was forced to impose similar powercuts earlier this year as it struggled to meet demand, last Friday said the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (NERSA) decision in March to award it lower annual tariff increases than requested had worsened its financial sustainability.

South African municipalities also owe the entity billions of rand in unpaid bills, adding on to Eskom’s woes which critics have largely blamed on mismanagment and corruption.

Last month, Eskom assured the public there would be no planned blackouts for September and October, in response to revelations by the DA that the utility had warned municipalities of that possibility.

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