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.

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