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Power cuts a set back for CT businesses

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Trading at Cape Town businesses have been severely hampered by the disruptions caused by load-shedding implemented by Eskom over the past weekend for the third weekend in a row. Some business-owners VOC News spoke said the power outages have been disastrous and are leading “customers out the door”. The power cuts come at the worst time for businesses, as December is the start of the busy festive season.

For Atlantic Express Cake and Coffee Train, the power outages are resulting in a profit loss.

“Power cuts damage business as it has a devastating effect on businesses. All businesses are suffering at the moment. The moment the power goes the customer goes and we lose out on money,” says Atlantic Express owner Hiddyat Sonday.

Atlantic Express has an alternative power supply as they work on gas stoves as well however their business is restricted by the lack of power supply causing financial strain to business.

“We at the Train to a certain extent can manage as we work on gas too. Things like coffee and tea we cannot make due to the outage and our business loses out on turn over and we cannot pay suppliers properly,” says Sonday.

For those without an alternative power supply, the outage is a signal for them to shut their doors until load-shedding ends. This has had an extremely unproductive effect on business and is a potential cause for job losses.

“When the power’s out business is bad and we don’t make enough profit. This has a bad effect on the economy and that means people lose their jobs due to un-productivity,” says Sonday.

Gadija Stegman, who works at a hair salon in Claremont, said power had been turned off twice while she was seeing to a client’s hair.

“Its absolutely stressful for us as we work on back to back appointments and people have events to attend during the festive season. We have had to take out clients over the street to another business-owner who fortunately has a generator. It’s really affecting our business,” she said.

Nazeera Solomon, who runs a small cake making business from home in Athlone, said the power cuts were frustrating and impacting on her ability to deliver her orders on time.

“My cakes are flopping and I am not meeting my deadlines. This amounts to wastage and of course, it’s bad for my clients who depend on me. It’s a busy time for us so we can really not afford to have load shedding right now.”

Eskom is currently in phase 2 of load-shedding due to their plant availability. The load-shedding was due to unforeseen technical issues with water reserves and logistical issues with diesel supply, as they were depleted.

“On Friday we changed from stage 2 to stage 3 as we had problems with our diesel turbines and water pumps due to depleted diesel and water reserves,” says Eskom Western Cape spokesperson Jolene Hen.

Load-shedding depends on supply and demand. Eskom stresses that although load shedding is a last resort it has to be implemented to prevent a complete network shut down of its plants.

“We implement load shedding to prevent a total black out,” says Hen.

Eskom has urged people to use electricity sparingly as there are possibilities of more power outages this week until mid-January. VOC (Nailah Cornellisen)


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