The South African city has been suffering from extreme water shortages. Cape Town locals have been forced to reuse buckets of water to wash, limit loo flushes or risk being fined if they go over an imposed water limit. State-owned Eskom who generates, supports and distributes electricity to more than five million households in South Africa announced the measures in a bid to “protect” power supply.
The power cuts, also known as load-shedding, was a measure taken by Eskom to “protect the electricity power system from a total blackout”.
Eskom is reportedly struggling with debts of more than $30 billion and according to chairman Jabu Mabuza the power company is “locked into a permanent loss-making position.”
There has also been a dip in the supply of coal needed for the main power stations as earnings flatline and late payment of bills by large local authorities, all major customers for Eskom, have sparked havoc for the state-owned company.
Widespread corruption across country is another potential reason cited for Eskom’s recent struggles, The Times reports.
Goldman Sachs has warned the economy is going to struggle without power and Eskom alone represents “the biggest risk to South Africa’s economy”.
Eskom said a potential country wide blackout would have much more serious consequences than no lights.
Power cuts can last up to two and a half hours a day for up to five days a week.
When other countries have experienced blackouts, power has been restored in a number of hours by tapping into a neighbours power system.
People in South Africa would have to rely on re-starting power systems from scratch, which Eskom said could take up to two weeks.
Eskom urged load-shedding takes place to stop such an event from happening and avoid the severity of people having no power for two weeks.
The first cuts saw important events take place in darkness such as a court hearing about corruption charges against former South African President Jacob Zuma.
The Zuma administration has been accused of nine years of misrule which saw Indian born South Africa brothers Gupta, reportedly benefit considerably.
Mr Zuma and the Gupta brothers are being investigated as part of what is called the largest post-apartheid scandal or state capture.
Investigations reportedly found Eskom awarded the Gupta brothers contracts worth billions in rand to supply coal between 2014-2017.
The brothers are said to have undersupplied Eskom four million tonnes of coal.
As a result coal stocks ran low and power was reduced, according to reports.
This is not the first time South Africa has suffered power cuts to compensate for low levels of coal with load shedding starting in 2008.
This first wave of cuts cost the economy approximately 52 billion rand and this next wave expected to cost between 20 and 80 billion rand.