S.Africa's power supply key to economic activity


The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) chief executive, Neren Rau encouraged continued rapport between the state’s power utility and businesses.

(READ MORE: S.Africa’s Eskom to start rolling blackouts on Nov. 2)

“SACCI understands that accidents do happen and luckily local businesses have been innovative in adapting operational models to unforeseen power outages,” said Rau.

“The key to ensuring that South Africa achieves optimal economic activity is certainty over power supply.”

Rau said Eskom had fostered a culture of open engagement with the Business Community adding that SACCI trusts that this relationship could be strengthened even further.

“The need for certainty over power-schedules is acute due to two important considerations: recent sub- optimal production levels and seasonal sales,” Rau added.

“South Africa is now emerging from significant economic pressures following the protracted industrial action in the mining and manufacturing sectors.”

SACCI said businesses in these sectors urgently needed to use the remaining time left in the year to recoup lost production.

“In the retail sector and in the tourism sector, the majority of businesses depend on festive season sales to tide them over during slower periods in the first quarter of the year. For these reasons, there is a need for certainty over potential power outages so businesses can plan around them.”

(READ MORE: Could Eskom’s Majuba power station collapse worsen load shedding?)

SACCI said Eskom had been innovative in its communication and should build on this foundation.  

“Municipalities sometimes fail to relay regular Eskom notices, so electronic channels of communication like SMS, e-mail or downloadable apps should be used to ensure that the end users are properly notified of the situation.”

Rau said the success of response to the current crisis depended on transparency in the relationship between Eskom and its users.