January 25, 2008 (AP) – South Africa will ration electricity, increase prices and encourage a switch to solar energy, all part of emergency measures now being undertaken amid power outages that have caused chaos and misery nationwide and threatened to choke economic growth.
Neighbors like Botswana and Namibia, which rely heavily on South African energy exports, have also been badly hit by the disruptions in the region’s economic and political powerhouse. The outages have undermined confidence in South Africa, with more incidents like the stranding of hundreds of people on tourism icon Table Mountain spreading through the media to other countries.
South African businesses have been crippled by the outages, which usually occur without warning. In an indication of the severity of the crisis, major mining companies including AngloGold, Harmony and Gold Fields Ltd. suspended work at some of their mines Friday for fear power cuts would trap workers underground. Continue reading