Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/REUTERS
Cape Town - As Eskom struggles to keep the power on, the DA wants the Western Cape High Court to expedite a matter which seeks alternative energy sources.

The power utility has implemented stage 2 load shedding in an attempt to stave off what many in the industry call the “death spiral”.

Power cuts have put a strain on many businesses exacting a blow to the economy as the December festive shopping season kicks in.

The state entity, hit by rampant corruption and a bloated workforce, has pushed its debt to R419billion and is the biggest credit risk to the country, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings.

The City of Cape Town filed an application with the court in August, challenging Eskom’s exclusive right to resell energy procured from independent power producers. 

It wants the court to compel the National Energy Regulator of SA to enable the city to feed power produced by independent producers into the grid as it believed that would help with energy security. 

“Given the urgency of the situation I have discussed with mayor Dan Plato the possibility of approaching the Judge President of the Western Cape High Court, seeking to have this declared an urgent matter,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

The SA Local Government Association reportedly supports the application.

Supermarket giants, clothing and hardware chains were also expected to have lost business, on a much bigger scale.

“We are absolutely shocked that once again our December trading is going to be plagued by load shedding.

“We are doing our very best to grow the economy and create jobs.

“We set realistic targets for growth and budget accordingly. Unfortunately, all our plans are torpedoed in the face of rolling blackouts,” Philip Krawitz, executive chairman of Cape Union Mart said.

He said when the effect was multiplied by the losses to other companies and the number of days on which outages occurred “you will see the economy being destroyed before your very eyes.”

According to Eskom’s spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, the utility could not guarantee that it could keep the lights on after January 15.

A reprieve from December 14 to January 15, next year would be mainly because large industries would shut operations for the holidays.


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