Every South African is bearing the brunt of load shedding these days. We read in the news that Stage 6 load shedding is costing our GDP over R 4 billion for each day that it continues, as per Alexander Forbes chief economist Isaah Mhlanga on Moneyweb radio last week.

But what is it really costing your business?

Next to the obvious loss of production resulting in a loss of profit, there is other, less obvious costs that businesses must carry these days.

  1. Cost of the alternative
    Lots of businesses in South Africa are partly running on diesel generators these days. Whilst the municipal grid is providing power at an average R 1.50 / kWh, running your machinery on diesel easily costs R 4.00+ / kWh. These costs increase continuously as diesel prices keep on going up (+54% from this time last year, according to Fin24).
  2. Cost of surges
    When the grid comes back, a surge of electricity is often sent through the electrical system. Majority of your machinery is not made to deal with this and will suffer, resulting in breakdown of your machinery and the high cost of reactive maintenance.
  3. Cost of labour
    If your staff is working overtime to catch up from the loss of production, your wage bill is going up.
  4. Cost of supplies
    In some industries (e.g. breweries, chemical plants, cold storage), supplies are wasted when load shedding hits mid process, as the whole batch that is in production needs to be disposed.
  5. Cost of lost time
    Sitting in traffic due to robots not working, not being able to use the Wi-Fi to access your network, documents etc. is all costing your business valuable time to trade.

So, what can you do?

Plan accordingly
Keep up to date with load shedding schedules, adjust your staff planning and work hours accordingly.

Protect your equipment
Invest in surge protection for your critical machinery. An UPS can also help in a stable handover to your back-up supply. These items come at a cost but will help you save in the long run.

Look at cost effective alternatives
There is a multitude of renewable alternatives available which lessen your dependence on the national grid and reduces the impact of load shedding.

At Sosimple Energy we have experienced that customers utilising our zero investment solar systems with generator integration have reduced the costs of running their generators with 20% – 40% during daytime hours.

Let’s face it – load shedding is not going to disappear anytime soon. We better dampen the impact as much as we can.