New round of extreme load shedding

New round of extreme load shedding

The new round of extreme load shedding gives businesses and municipalities no option but to look for other suppliers of electricity.

We have already seen the whole Old Mutual office complex in Pinelands go off grid and we will see many more cases like this because businesses cannot cope with an unreliable supply of electricity.

The present crisis is hurting businesses, municipalities and Eskom. Business needs electricity to survive. Eskom desperately needs to sell more power to keep going but instead finds its revenue going down while its costs increase as it has to use expensive diesel to keep its emergency gas turbines going. In addition, Eskom has to spend more money on long overdue maintenance. Any business person knows what falling sales and rising costs mean for a company.

The situation will also hurt struggling municipalities which rely on electricity income to subsidise their costs and keep their distribution systems and rate-paying commercial and industrial firms going.

This has created a situation where roof-top solar looks more attractive every month and where municipalities like Cape Town want to make use of independent power producers. They have no choice.

The long-term effects will be bad for Eskom, the country and for the taxpayers but what else can businesses do? They have to deal with the situation now and not wait for Eskom to finally get on top of its deep-seated problems and reverse its recent history of corruption and mismanagement.

Geoff Jacobs
President of the Cape Chamber