Radio signal interrupted by rolling blackouts, National Association of Broadcasters bemoans

Radio signal interruption due to load shedding.Picture: Supplied

Radio signal interruption due to load shedding.Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 28, 2023


Cape Town - The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says radio broadcasters spend over a million rands per month on diesel to run backup power generators.

This comes after utility power Eskom constantly implements different stages of power blackouts.

Eskom is currently on Stage 2 of load shedding.

NAB says rolling power cuts adversely affect their signal distributions and it costs them money as broadcasters.

NAB emphasised that the cost implications of rolling blackouts for the broadcasting industry cannot easily be transferred to customers.

Speaking to the SABC News, NAB deputy chairperson Nick Grubb, said they have asked the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to consider relaxing advertising requirements and prime-time schedules in light of the energy crisis.

“In the last couple of weeks, Sentech is already citing the potential for invoking force majeure as the reason for not delivering on their signal distributions to the individual member broadcasters due to load shedding and the unpredictability of that and then also the vandalism that they are subjected to.”

“Now while that may be understandable from a business point of view, the fact is that every institution in South Africa is under strain,”

“It is obviously an enormous and ... critical crisis impacting the broadcast industry because we face the very real possibility that radio and television broadcasters will go dark,” he further told the SABC.

Meanwhile in January, the Energy regulator Nersa approved an 18.65% tariff hike for Eskom for the 2022/23 financial year and 12.74% for the next heralding pain for consumers and industry alike.

The 18.65% price increase for customers directly supplied by Eskom takes effect from 1 April, and the 12.74% from 1 April, 2024.

However, this was revised to a 10% increase for subsidised Homelight 20A customers for Block 1 (>0-350kWh) and Block 2 (>350kWh), Eskom and Nersa said last week.