The high price of load shedding BY Zelmarie Goosen 20/4/2015
With the frequency of load shedding gaining momentum over the past few weeks, experts have called on government to find short-term solutions to stabilise the power supply.
Mike SchÜssler, chief economist at economist.co.za, said, in monetary terms South Africa was losing approximately 1% of its gross domestic product per year to load shedding. “It’s about R37 billion, according to the value-added approach. Johannesburg is hardest hit at about half of that, R18.5 million.”
He also noted load shedding’s effects on investment, with many businesses considering moving their headquarters. “They’re not thinking of South Africa … they’d rather move to Kenya or someplace else in Africa,” he said.
SchÜssler said the electricity crisis would not have been as prevalent today if more effort had been put in. “In 1998, we were warned this could happen in 2006,” he said. “We should have had an energy summit to see what could have been done, more emphasis should have been placed on solar power, things like daylight-saving could have been implemented.”
Joan Warburton-Mcbride, CEO of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said businesses were “reeling” from the effects of extensive load shedding.
On Thursday, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said bids from 13 independent power producers had been approved which would collectively add 1 121 megawatts to the grid. On Wednesday, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said load shedding would likely continue for two years.
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