The South African government labelled crippling electricity shortages a national emergency on Friday, warning of price hikes and quotas to improve supply ahead of the 2010 football World Cup.
"It is the view of cabinet that the unprecedented unplanned power outages must now be treated as a national electricity emergency," Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin told journalists.
This "has to be addressed with the urgent, vigorous and co-ordinated actions commensurate with such an emergency situation," he said.
The focus would be on reducing demand through price hikes, incentives and penalties, and saving measures such as a massive roll-out of low-energy lightbulbs and a new focus on gas and solar energy.
"It is a reality that there will be further significant increases in electricity prices, said Erwin.
Apologising on the government's behalf for poor planning, the minister said there was "no question of stopping" large foreign investment projects and said the 2010 football spectacular should not be adversely affected.
"There is no threat to the successful holding of the event as plans to ensure electricity security in that period are well advanced." (AFP)
Power crisis cripples South Africa