South Africa’s scheduled power cuts are being increased to up to six hours a day to avoid catastrophic grid collapse.
The main power company Eskom blames its striking workers demanding a 10% pay rise for these new enforced blackouts – or load shedding, as it’s called in the country.
Eskom says it relies on government bailouts to keep the lights on, and therefore it cannot increase its wage bill.
As a result the blackouts will begin for five hours on Tuesday evening, and again on Wednesday evening.
South Africa is the continent’s most industrialised country, and this disruption to homes and businesses comes in the middle of the Southern hemisphere’s cold winter.
Eskom’s problems emanate from a $26bn (£21bn) debt burden, along with an old and failing grid. It did recently build two new power stations but both have design flaws and are unable to provide power on a constant basis.