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After years of underinvestment and poor maintenance of its power plants while demand has grown, South Africa continues to struggle to meet the electricity needs of its people and industries. The vast majority of South Africa's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, infrastructure that is 30-35 years old and has become insufficient and unreliable. The economic consequences of insufficient power generation are real: "Regular load shedding by Eskom is hurting South Africa's economy to the tune of 0.5-1.8% of GDP per month, depending on the blackouts' severity," according to 2015 investment analysis by Edison Investment Research. Despite some recent improvement, still today most South Africans are in the dark some of the time, and perhaps ten million of them are in the dark all the time.

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