Once the highly infrastructure developed economic powerhouse of Africa, South Africans these days are more interested in the outlook for rolling blackouts. The country’s most-downloaded app provides schedules, alerts and forecasts for power outages.
Eskom, the state power monopoly, is struggling to generate enough electricity to meet needs, and has re-introduced a byzantine system of rotating outages known as “load-shedding.” On February 11th a whopping 4,000 megawatts of power, enough to power some 3m households, was cut from the national grid to prevent it from collapsing. Some businesses have bought generators and battery systems; others close during outages. In big cities, there is chaos at rush hour as traffic lights go dark. The blackouts suit copper-cable thieves, who can steal without fear of electrocution. And when the electricity is switched backed on, substations sometimes explode, resulting in secondary outages.
[paywall: you can see the whole article in 'anonymous view' through startpage.com]
More on the situation:
How to bring back the lights in South Africa?