According to the South African Reserve Bank, the electricity crisis in South Africa is costing the economy up to R899 million per day. Rolling blackouts, which last anywhere from 6 to 12 hours a day, are detracting anywhere from R204 million to R899 million from the economy daily. This is due to the fact that Eskom, the state-owned company that produces almost all of South Africa’s electricity, is forced to impose these blackouts in order to prevent the grid from collapsing.
The Reserve Bank has lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 0.3%, down from 1.1%, due to the impact of power disruptions. The bank predicts that electricity will be rationed for 250 days in 2023, which would be a record high. This year, the country is experiencing its worst bout of power rationing yet, with blackouts already occurring for over 200 days in 2022 and continuing every day so far this year. The blackouts are likely to continue for at least two more years while Eskom overhauls its electricity-generating fleet.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce measures to address the crisis during his state of the nation address on Thursday. The National Energy Crisis Committee, which is run out of the president’s office, is planning to implement a new law to fast-track plant development. Eskom has stated that an additional 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts of electricity generating capacity is necessary in order to end the load shedding.
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