South Africa on Monday introduced its most severe electricity rationing in nearly five years, presenting President Cyril Ramaphosa with a major political challenge just months ahead of a May general election.
Ramaphosa who last week admitted that Eskom was in crisis, on Monday expressed anger at the intense power outages.
Offices, shops, factories, traffic lights and private homes were hit on Monday by "load-shedding" -- scheduled power cuts to reduce usage.
The cuts were categorised as "stage 4", the highest severity level since March 2014.
"Since this morning we have unexpectedly lost six additional generating units which have put additional strain on the system," the company said in a statement.
"That is most worrying, most disturbing, and it comes as a shock," he said.
"It has shocked me and also made me quite angry that we have reached this stage of dysfunctionality," he said.
Ramaphosa last week vowed to fight mismanagement and corruption at the utility, which has 419 billion rand (USD 30 billion) debt, by dividing it into generation, transmission and distribution divisions.
Moody's warned Monday that financial aid to Eskom could be credit negative unless it is backed by steps to generate savings.
The country heads for polls on May 8, with the ruling ANC party keen to repair a fall in popularity in recent years.
"These power failures can be placed squarely at the feet of the ANC, as it has been their looting and theft of the public's money that has left us in the dark," the party said.
Political and economic commentator Daniel Silke tweeted that the outage "is the predictable end result of a toxic recipe of bad sector policy choices... hapless management systems, outdated desires of state control and the final killer of graft & corruption".
Eskom said the cuts would take 4,000 megawatts of demand out of the system to prevent its collapse.
It pleaded for residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly as it warned that power outages were likely to continue until April.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)