South Africa has been reeling under load shedding in recent weeks. The impact on business has been devastating. That has particularly been the case for small businesses.
Stage 6 load shedding has become the norm across the country, with power generation capacity falling by nearly 7000MW due to various faults on the network.
Though the current faults may be resolved at some point, it’s clear that the country does not have enough generation capacity to meet ever growing demand.
As such, load shedding will likely become commonplace going forward. So, what can businesses do to stay afloat amidst these trying times?
The following are some of the steps that you can take to ensure that your business remains afloat;
Familiarize yourself with the load shedding schedule in your area
The first thing that businesses need to do to survive is to become familiar with the load shedding schedule in their areas.
This is something that you will find if you go to the Eskom website. There are also mobile apps that you can use to check your load shedding schedule. Some will even push alerts to you in the event that your location is going to lose power.
Have a flexible work schedule
Knowing when electricity is going to be switched off in your area gives you the ability to properly plan your day.
As an example, if power is going to be switched off from 1 pm to 5pm, one thing that you can do is to ensure that you workers arrive at your workplace earlier than normal to make up for the hours that you are going to lose later in the day.
Of course, that may not always be an option. Retail companies, as an example, need to plan their days not just in terms of when they can get their workers to arrive at work, but also in terms of when customers are most likely to be in the shop.
Opening you shop at 5am will not work in this regard because there will be no one to buy. Fortunately, there are other steps that you can take to mitigate the effects of load shedding.
Invest in a power generator
This is the second thing that you can do as a South African business to stay ahead of the incessant power cuts that the country has been facing.
You should invest in a power generator. These run either on diesel or on petrol. In fact, a lot of businesses have been taking this route.
There are generators out there that can be set up to automatically kick in the moment power is switched off at your facility.
That way, you won’t have interruptions to machinery and to your activities. Generators can be bought from a wide range of stores in the country, including Game.
The cheapest one at Game currently costs about 2400 Rands. Of course, when buying, you will need to get one that meets your needs.
You should get an electrician to make the calculations for you so you can buy one that can take the load at your business.
It has to be said that generators are something of a stopgap measure. The level of load shedding that the country has been witnessing in recent days makes it difficult to use this solution.
That’s because it becomes costly to continuously run a petrol or diesel generator. Businesses can resort to passing the pain onto their consumers, but that can become difficult in a rather competitive environment.
Share the generator with other businesses
We have just noted that it can be rather expensive to continuously run a generator. One solution to this problem is to share the costs with other businesses around you. Talk to them and find out whether or not it is possible to use one generator.
This actually makes sense in some instances. You could be running a generator and producing more than enough power for your business.
In that regard, the excess power will represent a loss. So, it will be better to talk to your neighbours so they can join your grid.
Invest in solar
This is another option for businesses operating in South Africa that are looking to fight against power cuts. Solar is a great investment. That’s because solar energy is free, as long as you have the right equipment.
However, the initial investment may be rather intimidating to some people. The good news is that solar systems can last decades, making this a good long term investment.
To take advantage of solar energy, you need to invest in good quality batteries. Today, lithium batteries have risen in popularity against all the other types of solar batteries that are out there.
One challenge with solar energy is that it may not work for big businesses. This option is ideal for small businesses, such as retail stores. However, if you run machinery at your business, then the solar solution is probably not going to be meaningful to you.
Do you wish to learn how to buy electricity in South Africa from the comfort of your home? Here is how to buy electricity using Capitec. With this option you can use the bank’s app to buy your tokens.