Why Are SA Small Businesses Especially Vulnerable to Load Shedding?

Why Are SA Small Businesses Especially Vulnerable to Load Shedding?

“We’re losing big time.” – Nazeema Bieding, small business owner in Observatory

Load shedding is causing immense disruption to businesses in South Africa, and it’s costing them a lot of money. No industry or company is off the hook.

For instance, the latest South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) feedback is that load shedding is crushing the commercial property industry. Even the mighty construction industry has warned that they are paying a steep price in economic growth and job creation. However, small businesses are especially vulnerable.

Operational Interruptions

Small businesses may battle to absorb the operational disruptions caused by load shedding. Interruptions in power supply make for halted production, disrupted services, and delayed deliveries, which can directly impact revenue generation and customer satisfaction.

Inability to Store Inventory

Some small businesses that deal with perishable goods or sensitive materials may not have adequate storage facilities with backup power. This makes them vulnerable to losses during extended power outages caused by load shedding.

Technology Reliance

Many modern small businesses rely heavily on technology for their operations, including computers, internet connectivity, and electronic payment systems. Load shedding can disrupt these technological infrastructures, leading to communication breakdowns, data loss, and inability to process transactions.

Competitive Disadvantage

Small businesses often compete with larger companies with more resources and resilience to withstand disruptions of load shedding. This can create a competitive disadvantage for small businesses, especially if their larger competitors can continue operating smoothly during power outages.

Small businesses pay the price.

It’s clear that the reduced income and extra costs associated with load shedding are hurting local enterprises. One example is Faadia Samuels, who started her salon 15 years ago. She had been at her location in Observatory for more than five years before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Then, load shedding started straining her finances just as it was recovering.

Another example is Linda Claassen and Nazeema Bieding, the owners of a small tailoring business that makes and alters clothing and lampshades. “Whatever you bring, I can make,” says Bieding. But their sewing machines don’t work when the power is down. She had no other choice but to close up shop early several times. She says she has lost many clients.

Tapiwa Guzha runs Tapi Tapi, an African-inspired boutique ice cream shop. He says that four-hour loadsheds are crippling, especially if it is from 2 pm to 6 pm since that’s their peak time. Guzha says his chest freezers can keep stock cold for eight hours, but the freezing and thawing are affecting the quality of the product. The ice cream store also has a small kitchen and bar at the back, but they had to stop their food service because stock was getting spoiled.

The power crisis in the country has pushed many small businesses to the verge of closure, and the grim reality is that there’s no quick fix. With South African small business owners facing the daunting prospect of persistent load shedding, it’s clear that finding a reliable solution is more crucial than ever. That’s where S&A Generators come in as a silver lining.

At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator solutions to suit the needs of entrepreneurs, business owners and property owners. Our services include generator sales, installations, and maintenance, ensuring reliable backup power during load shedding. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality products and services and are committed to ensuring your satisfaction. Contact us today to find light in these dark times.

The Grim Prognosis of Load Shedding in South Africa

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The Grim Prognosis of Load Shedding in South Africa

The Grim Prognosis of Load Shedding in South Africa

In a disheartening update from South Africa’s electricity minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, delivered a sobering message to the nation: there will be no quick fix to the ongoing issue of load shedding. As the country grapples with Stage 6 power cuts, a prognosis for the next four years reveals a challenging road ahead.

The recent intensification of power cuts by state-owned utility Eskom led to the country’s plunge into Stage 6 blackouts. Ongoing and long-term power cuts are now threatening to continue for weeks on end as Stage 6 shutdowns will continue over and above planned maintenance. If we bring the sudden breakdown of generating units into the mix, consumers are looking at severe constraints in generation capacity.

Eskom’s Efforts to Strengthen the System

Minister Ramokgopa shared Eskom’s recent efforts to fortify the system. With a history of negligible maintenance that led to a drop in generating capacity, Eskom says it has now embarked on a proactive strategy to reinforce its infrastructure. Ramokgopa affirmed they will “stick to planned maintenance, we’re going to stick to philosophy maintenance.” But he also recognised that this plan would intensify load shedding.

The Bleak Forecast: Load Shedding Until 2027

Thanks to a financial boost from the National Treasury, Eskom has some room to breathe, allowing it to funnel more resources into maintenance. But things will get worse before they get better. A medium-term adequacy report released by Eskom paints a bleak picture, forecasting load shedding to continue until 2027. The report underscores the challenges faced by Eskom, both internally and externally, indicating that the utility’s generation fleet is expected to decline, and there is a negative outlook for the coming years. As a result, the system will struggle to fully meet demand.

Understanding the Energy Availability Factor

The report suggests that Eskom’s energy availability factor is projected to range between 58% and 67% at the end of 2027. This factor, which measures the actual electricity generated compared to the maximum potential generation, underscores the gravity of the situation. An energy availability factor below 70% implies that power cuts are expected to persist.

The Daunting Supply Gap

Perhaps the most alarming revelation from the report is the projection of a widening supply gap. In 2023, the anticipated supply gap stands at 18 terawatt hours (TWh), an already concerning figure. However, in the worst-case scenario, this deficit is predicted to skyrocket to a staggering 30 TWh by 2027.

To put this into perspective, 18 TWh is roughly equivalent to the entire generation output of Matla power station when running at full capacity. Matla, boasting an installed capacity of 3,500MW, underlines the magnitude of this energy deficit. This shortfall places significant strain on South Africa’s industries, businesses, and households

Management-Related Issues and Acts of Sabotage

Eskom’s head of generation, Bheki Nxumalo, mentioned that Stage 6 load shedding is expected to persist, but the stages will vary as units return to service. However, there are concerns about management-related issues that are impeding maintenance efforts. There are valid suspicions that certain individuals within Eskom may be involved in acts of sabotage, and allegations of fraud and corruption are under investigation.

Internal Eskom security and investigators from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (commonly known as the Hawks) have claimed that individuals at Kusile and Tutuka power stations may be involved in these acts of sabotage. Even more shocking, there’s suspicion that some elements within management might be protecting the alleged saboteurs. Arrests have been made, such as a worker at Tutuka power station who was nabbed for allegedly stealing hydraulic oil worth over R800,000.

Addressing South Africa’s Load Shedding Challenge

It’s abundantly clear that load shedding remains a pressing issue in South Africa, with a complex web of problems affecting the nation’s electricity supply. While efforts are underway to address these issues, the road ahead is long and challenging. South Africans must brace themselves for ongoing load shedding as the country grapples with the task of revitalising its electricity infrastructure. With South Africa facing the daunting prospect of persistent load shedding, it’s clear that finding a reliable solution is more crucial than ever. That’s where S&A Generators come in as a silver lining.

At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator solutions to suit the needs of homeowners and property owners. Our services include generator sales, installations, and maintenance, ensuring reliable backup power during load shedding. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality products and services and are committed to ensuring your satisfaction. Contact us today to find light in these dark times.

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Can You Run A Generator Continuously?

Can You Run A Generator Continuously?

Loadshedding has become a frustrating reality that’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. But it’s not just a matter of being without power – it can also be incredibly disruptive and pose risks to our electronic devices and appliances. Without a backup power solution, load shedding can mean hours of inconvenience, including cold meals and no Wi-Fi for work or leisure. And that first cup of coffee to start the day? Well, that might be out of the question too.

As stage 6 loadshedding continues to plague South Africa, generators can provide reliable backup power to avoid frustration, disruption, and potential damage. But can a generator be run continuously to provide uninterrupted power? Let’s find out.

Firstly, it’s critical to understand that generators are not designed to run continuously. The Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa (ECASA) recommends running a generator for a maximum of 12 hours at a time and then allowing it to rest for at least 30 minutes. Doing this will give the generator a chance to cool down and prevent it from overheating.

The type of generator you have will also affect how long it can run continuously. The runtime of a generator is influenced by its fuel type, capacity, and load. Diesel generators tend to have longer runtimes than petrol generators. Additionally, the generator’s capacity, or the amount of power it can produce, will affect how long it can run before refuelling. The load on the generator, or how much energy it is being asked to generate, will also affect its runtime. A generator running at full capacity will burn more fuel and run out faster than one that only provides power to a few critical appliances.

Continuously running a generator for long periods can cause it to overheat, resulting in damage to the engine, and could ultimately lead to the generator breaking down. Overloading a generator can also harm the engine and could result in a fire hazard. It’s crucial to ensure the generator is not overloaded and provides power to appliances within its capacity.

Additionally, the weather conditions in South Africa can impact a generator’s performance. Running a generator in extremely hot or cold temperatures can affect its efficiency and lifespan. Generators are designed to operate within specific temperature ranges. Always ensure that the generator is kept in a well-ventilated area and is not exposed to extreme temperatures.

Regular maintenance and servicing of a generator are crucial to its performance and lifespan. Generators should be serviced at least once a year. However, oil levels, air filters, and spark plugs should be checked more often. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to decreased performance and even permanent damage to the generator.

Generators can be a lifesaver during loadshedding, but it’s essential to understand how to use them safely and effectively. So, how do you know if your generator is being overstrained? Keep an eye out for warning signs such as a burning smell, unusual noises, or the engine shutting down unexpectedly. If your generator is producing less power than usual, it may also be a sign that it’s overstrained. Another warning sign is increased fuel consumption: If your generator is burning through fuel more quickly than usual, it may be a sign that it is working harder than it should be.

If you notice any of these signs, take action immediately! Switch off the generator and seek the assistance of a qualified technician.

At S&A Generators, we offer a range of generator solutions to suit the needs of homeowners and property owners. Our services include generator sales, installations, and maintenance, ensuring that our clients have reliable backup power during loadshedding. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality products and services and are committed to ensuring our clients’ satisfaction. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your backup power needs.

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How To Extend The Life Of Your Generator

How To Extend The Life Of Your Generator

You can extend the life of your generator by investing in a generator cover, booking planned generator maintenance, checking the generator’s oil levels often, inspecting the battery just as often, and giving your generator a good cleaning from time to time. We’re explaining these generator lifespan-extending methods in detail below, and putting you in touch with generator technicians in KwaZulu-Natal should you want to extend your generator’s lifespan:

  1. Install a generator covering

Imagine if you drove around without a hood on your car. It wouldn’t take long for dust, rain, and other natural materials to make their way onto and into your engine. The same goes for generators without coverings. The better you can protect your generator’s critical parts from the elements, the longer it will take for wear and tear to become an issue for your generator.

  1. Book regular generator maintenance

Monthly, quarterly or annual generator maintenance is another important step you could take to ensure you get the most value for your backup power generating investment. Planned generator maintenance will keep your generator running at peak condition, and this will ensure critical generator issues can be identified and rectified before causing any bigger generator issues.

  1. Regularly check your generator’s oil

A vehicle’s engine won’t last long at all without engine oil. The same is true for diesel generators and petrol generators. When engine oil is running low, and the generator is operational, higher-than-usual levels of engine component wear and tear occur owing to the lack of lubrication. Get the most out of your generator’s critical parts by keeping its oil topped up.

  1. Inspect your generator’s battery

It’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your backup generator’s battery. Corrosion and battery acid leaks are common generator battery issues, and are able to cause serious damage when generators are neglected and the condition of the generator’s battery and associated wires and connections isn’t checked regularly.

  1. Don’t forget to clean your generator

One final measure you can take to extend the life of your generator is to ensure it is being cleaned regularly. This is especially important when there is no covering placed over the generator, protecting it from dust and other troublesome matter. But cleaning a generator doesn’t end at a wipe down from time to time. Consider getting your generator professionally cleaned every time it undergoes maintenance.

Extend your generator’s lifespan with S&A Generators

Extending the lifespan doesn’t have to be a multi-step process. One call to S&A Generators and you can book generator maintenance and order generator oil replacements or generator fuel top-ups. If you’ve got a generator and you want to get the most out of it, contact S&A Generators today! If you’d like to see what else we can do with backup generators, have a look at our S&A Generators projects.

9 Reasons Shopping Malls Need Backup Power Generators

9 Reasons Shopping Malls Need Backup Power Generators

Shopping malls have become the places we go to do just about everything these days. We can pay our bills, buy our groceries, restock our wardrobes, fix our electronic devices, and much more. The shopping centre ecosystem relies on consumers buying from the tenants, who then pay rent and the mall keeps its doors open. These tenants have requirements to operate, the most important being electricity.

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This vital resource powers point of sale computers, bank card machines, internet connectivity, in-store lights, security systems, and air conditioning. Without electricity, retailers cannot trade. So, the overarching reason shopping malls need backup power generators is to provide tenants with a reliable source of electricity.

With unplanned power outages and load shedding still impacting retail outlets across South Africa, having a backup power generator means business continuity; come what may. We’re diving deeper into the need for a generator at every mall below, with nine reasons why having one is an excellent idea:

  1. Retailers trade through power cuts
    When there’s no generator in place, most shopping centre tenants are forced to discontinue operations for the duration of a power outage. Backup power means a continuation of trade for all tenants, regardless of what’s happening with the national power grid.
  2. Shopping mall remains open to the public
    Lighting, elevators, access control, and other mall infrastructure go down when the power cuts off. This means it becomes impossible for shoppers to navigate the centre, unless there’s a backup power generator keeping this infrastructure working and the mall open to the public.
  3. Security measures remain in place
    Iron-clad security is a must at any shopping mall, for the protection of the shoppers, retailers and their staff, and mall management. A backup power generator keeps things like CCTV and alarm systems operational while the national electricity supply is down.
  4. Mall remains connected at all times
    Keeping a shopping mall and its retailers connected to the internet is critical for a number of reasons. Keeping ATMs and credit card machines online to facilitate retail transactions is arguably the most important. With backup power, there doesn’t have to be a loss of internet connectivity at all.
  5. Customer contact is maintained
    Whether a mall has to shut its doors during a power outage or not, being able to communicate with customers is pretty important. Backup power means a mall can communicate to customers that they are open and operational during outages.
  6. Keep the shopping environment comfortable
    Air conditioning is such a relief for shoppers when visiting their favourite malls. When the power goes out, these aircons can’t keep cooling stores and common areas down. With backup power generation in place, shopping malls can keep offering a comfortable environment for both shoppers and shop staff.
  7. Acquire a competitive advantage
    Let’s face it: having a backup power generator is a competitive advantage for any shopping centre. If it’s a choice between shopping at their favourite mall without power, or a competitor mall with backup generators, chances are a customer is going to go with option two.
  8. Avoid a complete loss of productivity
    When the power goes off at a mall without backup generators, productivity comes to a halt across the board. Mall management can’t do their jobs, retailers and staff can’t do their jobs, and this break in productivity renders the rest of the day essentially a write-off.
  9. Attract more potential tenants
    Shopping malls that can keep their doors open and their aircons running stand to attract tenants who are looking for more stable commercial rental options. Having a backup power source is a big plus for any mall looking to improve their tenant acquisition and retention.

Shopping mall generator installs, repairs & maintenance

With decades of backup power generator experience, S&A Generators is your best bet when needing generator repairs, maintenance, or new generator installations (with CoC). A backup generator brings peace of mind for shopping mall managers, that tenants can trade through periods of power outages. Don’t let the lights going out leave you in the dark! Get in touch on 031-702-8621 or [email protected]. You can also send an enquiry on our contact S&A Generators page.

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Will load shedding still be an issue through 2022?

Will load shedding still be an issue through 2022?

For over 14 years South Africans have contended with intermittent and often short-notice power cuts, thanks to Eskom’s now infamous Load Shedding strategy. As the world slowly starts to get a hold of the pandemic, economic activity is set to grow dramatically in 2022, which will put further strain on our already struggling power grid. So, will load shedding still be an issue through 2022? It looks highly likely, but here’s what the experts have to say:

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Electricity & the Energy Availability Factor

The Energy Availability Factor (EAF) is a percentage-based system showing the total portion of electricity being produced by Eskom’s total maximum generating capacity. We need only look at the Energy Availability Factors for the first half of the past two years to see that our energy issues are far from over. For the first half of 2021, the EAF was 61.3%. This compared to 65% in 2020 and 66.9% in 2019.

What should we expect for 2022?

Expect load shedding to continue throughout 2022, something Eskom themselves have suggested to South Africa. There are a bunch of reasons why electricity supply will be touch-and-go in 2022, but the main one is the refurbishment of two 970MW units at Koeberg Power Station in the Western Cape. Eskom predicts this will take at least 10 months, which means we are guaranteed load shedding up until at least August 2022.

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Ways to brace yourself for load shedding

Complaining about it does nothing to help you deal with load shedding. The best thing you can do is to start preparing for when we get that overnight announcement that planned power cuts have returned.

  • Download a load shedding tracker app
    How do you keep track of the load shedding schedules? They are so confusing, private individuals have invested in simplifying things using free mobile apps. These are updated in real time as load shedding is announced, and you can easily find and save the schedule for your suburb.

  • Keep an ever-present supply of candles
    Do you have a decent stash of candles and matches? Torches and other light-producing gadgets are great, but they require either batteries or recharging in order to operate. With enough candles on hand, you can keep your home illuminated no matter how long the power takes to return.

  • Power banks and mobile Wi-Fi devices
    If you rely on electrical supply to power your computer or laptop and internet router, load shedding is going to cause you issues throughout 2022. Consider investing in power banks so that you can keep your phone charged, and mobile Wi-Fi (MiFi) devices so that you can stay connected to the internet.
  • Invest in a reliable alternative power source
    You could buy every candle in your local supermarket, download load-shedding apps, and fork out for the best power banks and mobile internet technology available. You could also just install a power generator and not have to bother with the first three at all.

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Laugh in the face of load shedding in 2022

Don’t let load shedding in 2022 hinder your dreams and aspirations for your home or business. Backup power systems are the anti-load shedding solutions that more and more South Africans are turning to as they attempt to mitigate the lasting negative impacts of erratic power cuts. S&A Generators is your Durban-based backup power and diesel generator specialists, offering new generator installs, generator repairs, generator maintenance, and refilling of generators. Get in touch with our team and keep your lights on throughout 2022!