The Rep

Municipali­ties must look at green energy: BKCB


The profit margins of local small businesses have plummeted into dark times due to the ongoing Eskom blackouts, and local government needs to act fast to provide alternativ­e energy sources, says the Border Kei Chamber of Business (BKCB).

The “Titanic” power utility Eskom will sink everyone into a great energy depression if municipali­ties miss the green energy train, BKCB believes.

It said profit margins had been grossly affected because many small companies could not afford to buy or run generators indefinite­ly and they would have to send staff home.

While several businesses have either downsized or closed their doors as they cannot cope with the constant strain on their businesses, others continue to remain resilient through the energy storm winds.

“Imagine being a hairdresse­r or nail salon, and that is your core business, but due to constant outages your business has to turn clients away, so you do not make any income oin that time yet things like rent, services and staff still need to be paid,” said BKCB administra­tor Adré Gainsford-Bartis.

She said this created more unemployme­nt in an already strained market and smaller businesses operating from home were taking the heaviest knock

According to research, Stage 6 load-shedding meant businesses lost four hours of productivi­ty time all at once, instead of the usual two they had become accustomed to.

This also meant that they had outages three times a day at long intervals, which had a major impact on their equipment.

“Bigger companies had additional down time due to them having to wait for machines to ‘heat up’ again, only to have the power shut down a few hours later.

“Government needs to find relief methods through alternativ­e energy sources to assist business or their local municipali­ties,” Gainsford-Bartis said.

She said for the last few days load-shedding had been reduced to Stage 3, which was a bit less aggressive than Stage 6.

However, a new demon had reared its head in the form of cable theft taking place during longer load-shedding periods and this is affecting energy supply and service delivery to businesses and households.

“Unfortunat­ely Stage 4 was just announced again, so it is inevitable that we will be seeing Stage 5 or 6, or worse, at some stage again,” Gainsford-Bartis said.

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