Andre de Ruyter, chief executive of state-owned power utility Eskom, speaks during a media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 31, 2020. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

July 1 (Reuters) – The chief executive of South Africa’s state power utility Eskom, Andre de Ruyter, said on Friday that he had personally briefed President Cyril Ramaphosa on an ongoing electricity crisis.

Eskom has implemented the worst power cuts the country has seen in more than two years this week. It has blamed the outages on striking workers hampering efforts to bring faulty generation units back online. Read full story

“We fully briefed the president on the situation. … We discussed a number of potential options,” de Ruyter told a news conference, refusing to divulge what was discussed.

The meetings with the president included Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, he added.

Ramaphosa’s government has been trying to reform Eskom to make it more efficient, but progress has been slow.

Eskom said later in the day that it would reduce power cuts during the weekend due to lower demand.

The group said the “Stage 4” power cuts would run on Friday until 2200 local time (2000 GMT) and “Stage 2” outages would be implemented until 0700 (0500 GMT) on Saturday and Sunday.

Eskom implements scheduled power cuts, called “load-shedding,” to prevent a total blackout and replenish emergency generation reserves.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk; Editing by Alexander Winning and David Evans)