How do we survive Eskom blackouts?

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has called on its members to submit proposals on how to survive rolling blackouts.

“The potential impacts that load shedding will have on business, business confidence and consumers alike is inestimable,” Sacci president Vusi Khumalo said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Sacci believes that in situations such as this it is not only in the interests of business, but of the country as a whole, that concerted and unified action is necessary.”

Eskom said on Wednesday there was no indication of rolling blackouts, but the power grid remained under pressure.

“We do not foresee the need to go into load shedding, but the system remained tight,” the media desk said.

Khumalo said Sacci was gravely concerned about the “parlous situation” Eskom found itself in.

Sacci has undertaken to work with Eskom to find solutions to the problems.

“Sacci has therefore appealed to its members to submit any proposals that they may have to alleviate the situation, for joint consideration by Eskom and Sacci,” Khumalo said.

“In the meantime Sacci appeals to consumers to limit the use of electricity as far as possible such as, but not limited to, switching off all unnecessary lights and appliances.”

On Friday last week, energy sector analyst Chris Yelland said there was no quick fix for the rolling blackouts, Eskom’s financial issues and its maintenance backlog, so South Africans would have to learn to “live with it”.

Yelland said Eskom’s problems included financial and operational sustainability.

Asked on Friday if Eskom’s financial problems were to blame for the rolling blackouts, Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said: “Partly, I would say yes.

“We need money to buy parts for the maintenance, but that is not the only reason. Maintenance in the previous years, from about 2010, has been deferred.”

Eskom had indicated in 2014 that it needed R50 billion for the work it was doing and for operational needs.

Phasiwe said government had indicated it would give Eskom R20bn, but that this was not enough.

Eskom was working on a number of options to get the balance of the money it needed to complete its Medupi, Kusile, and Ingula power stations.

Phasiwe said Eskom had already issued bonds in both local and international markets and had approached other institutions for funds.

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How do we survive Eskom blackouts?