Cost of power outages to S.African economy significant: president

Xinhua Published: 2019-10-24 10:46:09
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South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, attends a press briefing after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, in Pretoria, South Africa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. Buhari is visiting South Africa after a wave of attacks on foreigners angered many African countries and led to an extraordinary airlift to take hundreds of Nigerians home.[Photo: AP]

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, attends a press briefing after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, in Pretoria, South Africa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. Buhari is visiting South Africa after a wave of attacks on foreigners angered many African countries and led to an extraordinary airlift to take hundreds of Nigerians home. [Photo: AP]

With South Africa still grappling with its energy challenges, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Monday that the cost of power outages to the country's economy is significant.

"It contributes to investor unease at a time when we are trying to attract more domestic and foreign capital to South Africa and to improve our global rankings on ease of doing business," Ramaphosa said.

The president conceded in his official letter that last week's load shedding which disrupted business running has had a negative impact on the economy.

South Africa has been hit by days of blackouts which dealt a heavy blow to economic activities and seriously affected people's lives.

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the country's gross domestic product shrank 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and rolling power outages were cited as the reason behind the decline, according to local observers on energy statistics.

Ramaphosa said the newly-released Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would address these energy problems.

"The IRP takes into account the constraints facing (state-owned electricity utility) Eskom, and deals with the desire by electricity users to have alternatives to meet their energy requirements," he said.

The IRP, approved by the South African cabinet on Oct. 17, is the national electricity infrastructure development plan based on least cost-electricity supply and demand balance, which takes into account security of supply and the environment.

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