Businesses count cost of Eskom implementing stage 4 load shedding

The utility has cited ongoing generating capacity shortages.

FILE: A clothing store in Claremont, Cape Town, in darkness as load shedding kicks in. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Businesses and those working from home are now counting the cost with stage 4 load shedding implemented until the end of the week.

The utility has cited ongoing generating capacity shortages.

This is the latest blow for the economy, which has seen weeks of power interruptions.

While many businesses now have their own supply, the cost of this still needs to be factored in.

Businesses have now turned to generators while residents are nervously looking at their load shedding schedules.

Eskom has announced that stage four will continue over the next four days ending on Friday at 5 am.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said they had no choice: “It is necessary to ration the remaining electricity generation reserves, which have been extensively utilised this morning as we are not getting a reduction in demand that we expected from the implementation of stage 2 load shedding.”

When stage 4 ends on Friday morning, stage 2 will take over and continue into Saturday.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

There are now concerns with the current and severe load shedding that the country's vital economic recovery after the lockdown will lose momentum.

Latest projections see economic growth for 2021 at over 5% but there are fears this could now change.

Growth is being threatened now by load shedding, with Eskom announcing stage four until 5 am on Friday.

Big business relies on stable power to keep operations running at optimal production levels.

Some businesses generate their own power but some still rely on Eskom.

Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego said up to now, mining and other industries had been doing very well.

But he said load shedding was dealing a massive blow.

“Load shedding will disrupt production activity at the mines to some extent and as a result, we could see overall economic for 2021 being just below 5%.”

The country has seen a series of blackouts and there are concerns that this will leave a lasting effect on the country's economy.