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Rechargeable lights, gas stoves & generators selling fast amid load shedding

This week, in an unprecedented move, Eskom implemented stage six load shedding, but this was then revised to stage four.

Customers visit the camping section at Makro Woodmead to purchase camping lighting to tackle the darkness of load shedding. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With no permanent solution in place for Eskom’s financial and operational woes, South Africans are making long-term plans to survive more load shedding at home.

This week, in an unprecedented move, Eskom implemented stage six load shedding but this was then revised to stage four.

How to check your load shedding schedule

While President Cyril Ramaphosa cut his official visit to Egypt short to attend to the country’s electricity crisis, it was not yet clear when Eskom’s deepening financial problems would end.

Eyewitness News senior reporter Mia Lindeque visited Makro store in Woodmead, Johannesburg, to assess the demand for alternative energy.

Rechargeable lights, power banks, solar panels, gas stoves, generators, and power invertors were flying off the shelves as South Africans stocked up and prepared for more rolling blackouts.

One of the directors at the popular retailer, Jonathan Koff, said the business had seen a drastic increase in customers buying items to survive load shedding.

“It did catch us by surprise and a lot of these products are not made locally; they are fully imported. We got a hold of our vendors and managed to get stock relatively quickly and delivered it to our stores last night,” Koff said.

A popular item at Makro was a flashlight that could last up to 70 hours and included a USB point to charge a phone.

Grandmother Mildred Ewang stays in Kelvin and said although she was used to getting around without power from her childhood days, her grandchildren were struggling to make peace with this.

“I grew up in the rural areas where there was no electricity, but the kids are struggling today as they have these technological gadgets that need power to function,” she said.

Generators and invertors, which could set consumers back on average between R6,000 and R11,000, were also popular items, with more stock being delivered to meet the high demand.

While most people find it too expensive, others saw it as an investment as there's no guarantee that load shedding will end soon.

WATCH: Saving yourself from stage 6 load shedding

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