A 14-hour power outage has cost businesses operating in Struandale millions of rands in lost manufacturing time and is severely compromising their ability to achieve production targets.
The unplanned power outage on the Chatty/Swartkops 132 kV circuit breaker is the 43rd to hit the industrial areas of the metro since the beginning of the year, occurring at 10 pm on 29 August 2023 and continuing until 12 pm today, affecting approximately 65 manufacturers and other businesses.
This has placed a huge burden on the businesses, as they are already facing backlogs due to prior unplanned power outages and load-shedding. The inability to manufacture has a number of negative impacts including customer orders not being met and employees being placed on short-time. Outages have become a regular occurrence in the area, with businesses having to continuously adjust their operations in order to ensure their ongoing sustainability and ability to continue to provide employment.
Chamber CEO Denise van Huyssteen says businesses in the Metro are deeply concerned about the continued state of unreliable power supply as it drives up business operating costs during downtime and harms the reputation of South African-based businesses that are exporting goods to international markets.
“Unplanned power outages have become a huge economic restraint as they place affected businesses in a precarious position and affect their ongoing sustainability. Power outages in the Struandale area have become the norm and are a direct threat to our local economy, particularly in terms of retaining much-needed investment and employment.”
These power outages can be attributed to vandalism and cable theft, and also the failure of switchgear, transformers and other substation equipment due to lack of maintenance and the ongoing impact of on/off switching relating to load-shedding.
“It is thus vital that the Municipality urgently allocates and ringfences sufficient budget and resources to upgrade and maintain electricity infrastructure.”
In addition to ongoing power outages, power dips also cause damage to machinery, and equipment and also cause products to be scrapped.