The Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the negative impact of Eskom’s Stage 6 rolling blackouts (load shedding) could see South African companies cutting staff due to continued rolling blackouts.
The power utility announced this week that 11 of their generators broke down resulting in indefinite rolling blackouts.
Eskom has been mired in financial crisis for years and is dependent on government bailouts.
Consumers should brace themselves for tougher times ahead after Nersa granted the power utility an electricity tariff hike of 18.65%.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Advocate Mtho Xulu, says businesses are losing revenue and can’t even plan for economic growth.
“I think anything beyond the inflationary increase is unaffordable for South Africans and the fact the energy itself is not available, Stage 6 means that half of the day is not available for any economic activity.So this is unjustifiable. We as business are calling for only an inflation linked increase anything beyond that is making the public pay for Eskom’s losses. What this means is that workers are going to start being laid off from operational requirements because they do not need all those workers. We do forecast job losses, halt in investments and we are going to have a tough time with this indefinite load shedding Stage 6.”
Price of electricity will soar in April:
Energy crisis gripping SA
Earlier energy analyst Chris Yelland warned that electricity price hikes will stimulate theft of electricity and increase the levels of non-payments from consumers.
NERSA approved an 18.65% electricity tariff hike for Eskom.
Yelland said the latest hikes will have a huge impact on industries, the economy and the disposable income of consumers.
He further added that the high prices are diminishing returns for Eskom because more and more people will not be able to pay.
He said the increases also makes the business case for alternative energy more compelling.
“There will be increasing levels of nonpayment, theft of electricity, which is already a problem and also municipal arrears debt because municipalities will not be able to collect money from their customers and therefore not be able to pay what they owe to Eskom. So, there are diminishing returns from price increases.”