Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
Many South Africans are looking for the light at the end of the loadshedding tunnel, but it still seems we are in the dark. With rumours of loadshedding at level 8 and a 18.65% power rate increase approved by the power regulator Nersa, many consumers and SMEs are at the end of their tether.
Many small businesses work in buildings or homes which don’t have alternative sources of energy and the damage of loadshedding blackouts to different businesses’ equipment has led to many SMEs needing to close doors permanently. This in turn contributes to the rise in unemployment in South Africa because SMEs are responsible for employing two thirds of the employable population.
But there has been significant backlash from many organizational bodies across South Africa for the government to take responsibility and help South Africans to weather the storm. One way would be to fast track the Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme and to adopt renewal energy strategies to get affordable energy on the grid.
Nevertheless, what can you as a business owner do today to power through the darkness?
1. Keep track of the loadshedding schedule
Use an app like EskomSePush which keeps you updated through push notifications of the loadshedding schedule. This will help you to plan to some extent how you can run your business with the loadshedding blackouts. Make it your duty to stay informed at all times. You should always know what stage of loadshedding your area is in and what time you’ll be affected.
2. Look into getting an alternative energy solution
This will allow you to keep the key components of your business going. It’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses to invest in UPSs (uninterrupted power supplies), generators and solar power systems so that you’re not affected by loadshedding. While this can be quite a costly investment, many believe that the benefits far outweigh the cost.
3. Back up your data
When you lose connectivity through loadshedding, save yourself the frustration and make it a regular practice to back up your data so that loadshedding doesn’t add to the pain.
4. Unplug your electronic equipment
Once the dreaded dark hours are over, and the electricity has returned, the power surge impacts the steady voltage flow in the electrical system, which can damage the electronic components of the equipment that’s plugged in.
5. Make the most out of loadshedding despite the challenges
Try your best to plan your day around loadshedding. Try to think differently, innovate, be positive, and allocate those hours of loadshedding to tasks you can complete without electricity. Fine-tune your plan? Self-learn around key issues? Brainstorm with your team? Just keep thinking and doing.
The time ahead may not look easy, but through grit and determination we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Listen to a recent interview by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO) on the podcast BBC’s Newsday at 31m46s (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172yf8y8gc8bwft).