Businesses warn of devastating impact of load shedding

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If the country’s energy crisis is not resolved speedily, then it will continue to have a devastating impact on many businesses which rely on Eskom for their operations. That’s the warning issued by the business sector in KwaZulu-Natal. Businesses held an engagement with the Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa in Durban.

Businesses from diverse industries came under one roof to seek clarity on the current state of the power supply in the country.  Ramokgopa presented long and short-term interventions to curb the intensity of load shedding. Business owners offered their views on possible immediate solutions.

“We are calling on government to act with speed in resolving the energy crisis facing the country, small business have been hard hit by this consistent problem and there seems to be no solution in sight. Why are small businesses not given generators for an example because if nothing is done, we will continue to lose more businesses which will cripple the economy,” says Black Business Federation’s Wonder Jaca.

Independent Power Producers (IPPs) say government needs to remove the red tape in order for them to offer alternative power solutions to those who can afford it.

“Our observation as Independent Power Producers is that there is still a lot of hurdles that we have to overcome in order to participate in producing energy, while a lot has been said about allowing us to enter the sector. It is still very difficult for any player to participate, we see ourselves as an import player because it is a contribution that we can make in addressing the problem,” says Zenco Energy’s Khutso Ntseki.

Minister Ramokgopa assured businesses that continuous work is being done to improve energy availability. At least three units are expected to come online by the end of the year. They include Koeberg unit 2, with a capacity of 980 Megawatts. Ramokgopa however says he’s unable to say when load shedding will end.

“If we can get an additional 4 000 megawatts and I have been able to illustrate where 2 000 of it will come from and we are confident that on the demand side we can claw back that 1 500 then we are closer to the resolution of this question and that’s why the president said the end is in sight, its within touching distance,”

Ramokgopa says his department is also working with municipalities that can be able to create their source of energy in order to reduce the demand from the power utility.

Video: Electricity Minister engages with business stakeholders in Durban

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Source: SABC News (