Unplanned power outages have put a strain on small businesses within the City of Johannesburg in recent weeks. City Power has blamed cable theft and stormy weather as some of the reasons behind power outages in Johannesburg. 

Parts of the City have been plunged into darkness, often without communication or warning to residents in recent weeks.  

Boniswa Ndlovu, owner of Paintbox Nail Studio in Marlboro, north of Johannesburg, says the situation has had a negative impact on business. 

“Load shedding and frequent power outages are quite heavy on our business. We are then faced with having to come up with alternatives. And alternatives always mean more money.” 

She says whats even worse is that she can’t explain to clients why power suddenly goes off during the nail appointments. 

“Recently, I have had a client who came over to do her nails. And it was the busiest day of the week which was a Friday. I then had to go get a generator which cost me R400 a day, which is something we don’t budget for. Per client, nails we would go about R300. We don’t make a profit as a business and we run at a loss. However, it is important for us as a business. Our focus is that we always keep the client happy. 

Ndlovu is not the only one experiencing frustration over the unannounced power outages. Residents say they need better communication from the power utility. 

City Power Spokesperson Isaac Mangena says cable theft is one of the main reasons for constant power outages across the city. 

“Four cables were stolen in Alexandra and affected supply to several parts of the township. Same as Midrand, where a pharmaceutical company was affected. In Kibler Park area, we had three cables stolen last night. And also, bad stormy weather does affect our electricity supply. We had trees touching our electricity cables or falling on our infrastructure. We have seen in this past week, tall tree fall onto our towers in Orlando and Mayfair substation plunging most of the areas including Auckland Park, SABC, and Melville (into darkness).” 

With winter around the corner, there’s no doubt that Joburg residents are anxious about power supply constraints.