How Blackouts Could Derail the Economy of South Africa

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

Blackouts are very rarely a good thing. They can mean a number of things: downed power lines, blown transformers, your power company is just testing their system to ensure grid reliability, or some much more serious issues with your power system.

They do, however, come in varying degrees of bad. For South Africa, blackouts present a massive issue that the country has yet to solve. The thing is, these blackouts aren’t the result of a catastrophic grid failure, but actually managed by Eskom Holdings, a state-owned utility.

The grid can’t handle peak electricity usage, and Eskom has repeatedly asked consumers, both residential and commercial, to cut down on usage during this time. For industrial consumers, this could mean reduced production and decreased profits.

When consumers don’t comply, Eskom runs managed blackouts to keep the grid stable.

Eskom argues that these blackouts are necessary to keep the grid from completely collapsing.

In the meanwhile, though, these scheduled blackouts can ultimately derail industry production, greatly hurting South Africa’s economy.

Read the rest of Energy Digital's story on South African blackouts.

Wondering how grid stability impacts the United States? Learn why Americans will pay more for a reliable grid, and how this reliability may depend on where you live in the US.

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