14 December 2018, News Wires — South Africa is unlikely to experience more power cuts until mid-January next year as electricity demands eases over the Christmas and New Year holiday season, state-owned utility Eskom said on Thursday.
Eskom, which supplies South Africa with more than 90 percent of its electricity, began controlled power cuts late last month due to coal shortages and poor plant performance.
The utility has not implemented power cuts, known as load-shedding, in the past four days, but has warned the power system remains vulnerable.
“The probability of load-shedding remains low from today until Sunday 13 January 2019,” Eskom said in a statement. “This is as a result of the expected decrease in demand as businesses and industries close down for the festive break.”
Eskom said it would intensify maintenance activities in December to improve generation capacity in preparation for the return of businesses and industries in the new year.
Separately, Eskom said on Thursday that it had signed a 1.5 billion rand ($106 million) loan agreement with French government agency Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to help it extend and strengthen its power transmission grid.
The funds are the first tranche of a 6.5 billion rand multi-tranche loan facility signed in March 2017.
The cash-strapped power firm has said it wants the government to take on 100 billion rand of its debts, about a quarter of its total borrowings of 420 billion rand. It is also eyeing a steep hike in tariffs from the energy regulator in 2019.