by gavin du venage, south african editor

Johannesburg December 14, 2018—South Africa is once again experiencing scheduled electricity blackouts, a result of erratic coal supplies and management failures at state energy utility Eskom. The country depends on coal for more than 90% of its electricity generation, although renewables are gaining traction. Eskom has 15 coal-fired power stations with an installed capacity of 38,000 megawatts (MW). Typically, net output is 34,952 MW, with the balance offline for maintenance.

In recent months, however, the utility has struggled to secure adequate coal supplies. What it is getting is often below par quality, which puts additional strain on power plants that need increased maintenance as a result.
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