Businesses in the north of Durban are bearing the brunt of the load shedding schedule after eThekwini Municipality moved them from an industrial to residential zoning, leading to increased power cuts.
The manager of Fragrant Orchid Trading in Glen Anil, who only gave his name as Tony, said load shedding was having a huge impact on his business.
“It takes about 2-3 hours for the machines to start up when there is load shedding. So you can imagine how much time and how much money is being lost. For the business to run effectively our machines need to be running for 24 hours a day.”
He said the business was running at a loss due to the recent decision to move the area from the industrial zone to residential zone on the electricity grid, which has resulted in more load shedding.
“It’s no longer about making a profit, we are just surviving. We urgently need the assistance of the municipality.”
Willy Govender, from Tygo Plastic, said he didn’t understand why the business area in Glen Anil was now experiencing so much load shedding.
“We are not sure what’s causing so much load shedding because we are an industrial area. It’s badly affecting my business. The issue is that we manufacture plastic bags, industrial packaging, and when load shedding ends we can’t simply get back to work.
“Our machines have to reach a temperature of 270°C, and that can take another hour, so we’re losing time and money during this period.”
Govender added that when there was load shedding there was no work for staff.
“We have to implement short time, as workers can’t do any work during load shedding. We also can’t afford to pay them for the hours when there’s load shedding. The additional extra load shedding means sometimes it’s two times a day that we either have to ask workers to come late to work, or we have to ask them to leave early.
“There are also wastages when there is load shedding. We end up with a lot of wastage as there is a lot of plastic that hasn’t gone through the process.
“If I continue experiencing losses like this, I will have to either move urgently to another location or close my business in Glen Anil.”
George Cominos from Creative Wood Designs, also in Glen Anil, said load shedding has crippled the industry.
“The municipality policy is supposed to help us as an industrial area, so that we should only get load shedding when there is stage 7.
“However, this is not the case and we are experiencing load shedding at various times in the day as we are being placed under a residential block.
“This does not help our business to survive.
“We are asking the municipality to exempt us from load shedding if it is below Stage 7, which is supposed to be the municipality policy, so that our businesses can survive.”
Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said that the engineers had determined that the premises in question were powered by the Greystone Park Distribution Substation, which is currently implementing load shedding under Block 12B.
“However, we have identified an alternative power source from 35 Street 1222955, which is supplied by the Parkhill Major Substation and falls under Block 18. It is possible that the business may have been temporarily supplied by the Block 18 configuration, resulting in a period without load shedding. Subsequently, the business has reverted back to its original Block 12, leading to a perception of increased load shedding.”
Sisilana acknowledged that recent occurrences of higher stages of load shedding have resulted in more frequent cycles of power outages during certain times.