Effect of load shedding on businesses


Mkhondo has for the last few weeks had load shedding on almost a daily basis, leaving business owners and motorists equally miserable.

A stroll through the Mall@Mfula shopping centre during load shedding revealed a shocking scene. The mall is equipped with a generator big enough to keep the lights in the passages on. However, each store is responsible for their own electricity during load shedding. Some stores, such as Roots, Shoprite, Hollywood Bets and Standard Bank have their own generators. The other shops however, are forced to close their doors completely.

It is impossible for each store to have a generator

Due to the Mall@Mfula building being a sheltered one, a majority of the businesses are not able to start a generator. The noise would be deafening and the fumes coming out of the generators would likely scare off customers as well.

Another big concern is the fact that during load shedding, businesses are an easy target for the criminal element. The risk is not worth it so they do not even accept cash purchases.

Store owners are encouraged to invest in a UPS

The management of Mall@Mfula regularly encourage the store owners to acquire a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). This would enable them to keep their systems going for another hour or two. The purchase of an UPS is an expensive endeavour, but it could assist in keeping business going for a while longer.

ESKOM varies the schedule, or changes the stage of load shedding (sometimes without much notice) quite regularly. This makes it difficult for business owners and employees to prepare accordingly.

The turnover of businesses all over town, especially those without a generator, is being negatively affected by the electricity restrictions. According to spokespersons at ESKOM, we should prepare for rotational load shedding for the next 18 months. What a bleak prospect.

Read more Eskom-related news here.

Load shedding also affects traffic flow

Another big issue is that when load shedding is in effect, the traffic lights in town are also off. During these times, these are to be treated as a 4-way stop.

At a 4-way stop, the first car to arrive at the intersection receives the right of way. It doesn’t matter where the vehicle is located or what direction it is travelling in. When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, and are located side-by-side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.

To all motorists – please drive with caution and remember the rules of the road!