(Bloomberg) --

South Africa’s state-owned electricity utility resumed power cuts on Thursday and warned that shortages may deepen due to plant breakdowns.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. will cut 2,000 megawatts from the grid after delays in returning two generating units to service. The utility said that power rationing, known locally as load shedding, may intensify to about 3,000 megawatts -- so-called stage 3 -- due to lower capacity and offline plants.

“There is a high probability that stage 2 load shedding may be be escalated to stage 3 for the evening peak,” Eskom said. “This constrained supply situation may persist throughout the weekend.”

The debt-laden utility’s failure to provide sufficient electricity further clouds the outlook for Africa’s most-industrialized economy, already battered by the coronavirus pandemic and which the central bank and National Treasury forecast will contract by more than 7% this year. Eskom hasn’t had a stable generation system for more than a decade and is saddled with a debt pile of 480 billion rand ($27.5 billion).

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