South Africa hit by intensive blackouts

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa imposed rolling power cuts for the first time since 2008 on Thursday as it struggled to cope with coal shortages and technical problems caused by recent heavy rains. State-owned electricity firm Eskom said incessant downpours over the past week had flooded mines and left stockpiles too wet to use in its coal-fired power plants. The company, which supplies around 95 percent of the country’s electricity, called on major industrial customers to reduce usage by at least 10 percent, and domestic users to turn off swimming pool pumps, water heaters and other non-essential items. It said power interruptions will be limited to two hours at a time. “The whole country will be affected by load-shedding, but not every city or suburb will be affected by load-shedding simultaneously,” spokesman Tony Stott told AFP. 

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