Home South African Load shedding a ‘handicap the country really cannot afford’

Load shedding a ‘handicap the country really cannot afford’

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Economist says the return of load shedding could lead businesses that are already suffering severe financial constraints due to the Covid-19 lockdown to shut down their operations.

File picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency(ANA)

THE RETURN of load shedding could lead businesses that are already suffering severe financial constraints due to the Covid-19 lockdown to shut down their operations.

This is according to economist Professor Jannie Rossouw, of the School of Economics and Business Sciences at Wits University, who said two hours of power outages would have a detrimental impact on businesses.

Eskom has announced that the power grid is severely constrained and power cuts may continue throughout the week.

The power utility said while their teams were working around the clock to return generation units to service, the severely constrained generation system would most likely persist through the coming week.

Eskom implemented stage 2 load shedding which runs from 9am until10pm.

Rossouw said the implementation of load shedding was a bad idea as power outages would be implemented during peak working hours. He said during that time most businesses were generating income and could not afford to be in the dark for two hours.

“Load shedding is really putting more weight on businesses, as most of them cannot function normally without power. In an economy that is already underperforming, the last thing we need is load shedding,” he said.

He said if everything went back to normal, with full employment and full production in all workplaces, Eskom would not be able to supply enough electricity, and we would then experience stage 4 load shedding.

“Most businesses are operating with fewer staff and they need to start generating more income so that they can invite more staff back to work,” said Rossouw.

He proposed that businesses should start generating their own electricity, be it solar energy or other sources, or make use of generators.

“We need to find alternatives because it’s clear that Eskom is not reliable. There is already high unemployment caused by the lockdown, and load shedding and such conditions might exacerbate the current numbers. South Africans and businesses cannot afford this,” he added.

Load shedding was implemented on Friday, due to an increase in generation unit breakdowns.

According to Eskom, demand for electricity had risen significantly due to the colder weather conditions.