Many South African landlords are introducing additional charges to keep the lights on during load-shedding because of the unprecedented number of outages this year.
To date, many office parks provided backup generator power to their tenants as a free perk, but this is changing because of the increase in load-shedding.
One landlord highlighted that they had no load-shedding in 2016 and 2017, and only 19 hours of outages in 2018.
In December 2019 alone, they suffered 25 hours of outages, and from 1 January 2020 to 9 February 2020 they already had 35 hours of load shedding.
This increase in load-shedding means that generators have to be serviced and repaired more regularly, which increases the cost of offering emergency backup power.
To compensate for the increased costs, office parks are now starting to charge a monthly generator standby fee and usage-based charged for providing power.
Paying to keep the lights on
The monthly generator standby fee differs significantly from one office park to the next as it is based on factors like the number of tenants and the power needed.
Accounts seen by MyBroadband suggest a typical generator standby fee of between R100 and R200 per month.
This standby fee typically includes one or two operating hours per month, after which tenants will be charged based on energy consumption and the duration of running the generator.
The table below provides an overview of the generator charges from a prominent business park.
|Business size||Power consumption||Price|
|Small business||Under 1,000kWh per month||R10 per hour|
|Medium business||1,000 to 5,000 kWh per month||R40 per hour|
|Medium to large business||10,000 to 40,000kWh||R400 per hour|
|Large business||Over 50,000kWh per month||R1,200 per hour|
Big additional cost to a business
In a month with 25 hours of load shedding, like December 2019, the additional cost to a medium-to-large business will be around R10,000 per month.
A medium-sized business can expect to pay an additional R1,000 a month, with a large business being charged R30,000 extra per month.
With a struggling economy and a depressed business market, these additional charges will be hard to stomach for many businesses.