Load shedding hits SA’s small businesses hard

Load shedding hits SA’s small businesses hard

Load shedding

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Links to load shedding schedules

 

Though
Eskom has promised to turn load shedding around in time for the festive season,
small businesses have felt its impact hit hard.

During
a visit to the business hub of Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon, Fin24 heard
from entrepreneurs who, at times, lost as much as over half of their profits
during load shedding.

Baker
Nkosana Ndlovu makes over 10 000 scones a day. On Wednesday, when the
electricity was shut off, all the prepared dough had to be thrown away, Ndlovu
told Fin24.

Veronica
Mazibuko owns a small stall selling vegetables and ice cream. Mazibuko makes
the bulk of her income from the ice cream machine, which operates on
electricity.

“I
make around R300 a day,” she told Fin24.

“When
there is no electricity for hours, I only make R120.”

READ:
Gordhan: There will be no ‘dark Christmas’
 

Fin24
reported earlier in November that Eskom is running low on coal; municipal debt
has ballooned by another R2bn since May and the risk of load shedding is
“very high”.

Public Enterprises Minister
Pravin Gordhan and the Eskom board on Thursday moved to assure the public that
the power utility was working to fix the current power outages, although it was
difficult to predict when the next breakdown of generation units would be.

READ:
Eskom announces full day of stage 1 load shedding for Friday

Gordhan
said measures were in place to avoid outages over the festive season, saying
the period from December 15 to January 15 often had low demand, and dismissed
reports of a “dark Christmas”.

“We
want to assure business that by the time you get back to work in January, we
will have a much more stable situation,” Gordhan added. 

According
to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, during 23 days of load
shedding in 2008, the SA economy lost an estimated R50bn – the equivalent of
R2.17bn per day.

Eskom
spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe previously told Fin24 that the cost of running
diesel generators at Eskom – while high – was not as high as the cost of blackouts
to SA’s economy.

Eskom
has reported that on Friday, December 7, there will be a full day of stage 1
load shedding. 

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