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Scaled back power cuts set to continue in South Africa

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South African state power firm Eskom has scaled back power cuts after some generating units were returned to service, it said on Wednesday, while reiterating that blackouts were likely to continue for the rest of the week.

[JOHANNESBURG] South African state power firm Eskom has scaled back power cuts after some generating units were returned to service, it said on Wednesday, while reiterating that blackouts were likely to continue for the rest of the week.

Eskom said it planned to reduce national grid supplies by 2,000 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday, down from 6,000 MW on Monday, after flash flooding strained the firm's already-creaking coal plants.

"We have made good progress in the system recovery largely as a result of several units being returned to service and the recovery from localised flooding at our power stations," the company said in a statement.

But it said plants continued to perform at low levels of reliability and that "the probability for loadshedding (rolling blackouts) remains high for the rest of the week."

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The most severe power cuts in more than a decade have disrupted supplies to businesses and households across South Africa, dealing a further blow to an already slowing economy.

Mining firms including Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater have been forced to cut production because of power shortages.

Harmony said on Wednesday it had resumed shifts at its underground mines on Tuesday afternoon. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to meet Eskom's management on Wednesday to discuss the power crisis. 

REUTERS