South Africa is on high alert as a surge of power plant maintenance issues have led to a spike in enforced black-outs throughout the country, temporarily depriving millions of electricity and raising criticism of the government’s failure to address a longstanding need for more energy infrastructure.
Eskom, the government-owned electricity company which supplies 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity and 45 percent of electricity used by the African continent, has admitted that it is currently facing a “risk of collapse of its entire power network.”
If that happened, South Africa and portions of surrounding countries could be submerged in darkness for upwards of two weeks.
The country’s energy woes began in 2007, after the demand for energy by burgeoning industries like platinum and gold mining caught up with the country’s decades-old power infrastructure and led to a series of uncontrolled blackouts.
But last November a coal silo collapsed at an Eskom power facility that contributes 10 percent of South Africa’s energy and caused the site to lose 1,800 megawatts of its energy capacity.
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