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HomeNewsContinuous load shedding darkens business, education, agriculture and more

Continuous load shedding darkens business, education, agriculture and more

Continuous load shedding darkens business, education, agriculture and more

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Cape Town – The negative impact of load shedding is continuing, with pressure mounting on various sectors including agriculture, business, transport and education, as well as Western Cape municipalities to strengthen their load shedding contingency measures.

As the country enters the summer crop planting season, Agri SA executive director Christo van der Rheede said the current energy crisis may have implications for food security in the coming year unless farmers put measures in place to mitigate against the effects of load shedding.

“Ultimately, the greatest threat of load shedding is to the country’s food security. As crops fail for lack of irrigation or farmers plant less for fear of losses, the country will only experience the consequences of load shedding in the future as the produce anticipated from this summer’s crop fails to materialise. The result will be food shortages and high prices,” Van der Rheede said.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said: “Certain sectors are more affected by load shedding than other sectors. The food and beverage sector has certainly seen a drop in sales, with many businesses unable to offer the same service during load shedding. The retail sector also reports significant losses, but impacts are still being assessed.”

Moolman added that there are contingency plans in every sector, with most large and medium-sized businesses either already invested in alternative power sources such as generators, or in the process of investing.

Education MEC David Maynier said it was disappointing to once again have to contend with prolonged load shedding in the run up to the matric exams.

“We have detailed protocols in place on the procedures to be followed should a power failure occur, in order to maintain the integrity of the exams,” Maynier said.

Load shedding has also stopped traffic lights from working at multiple junctions and surrounding suburbs in Cape Town. There have been videos circulating of ordinary citizens stepping up and directing traffic in these instances.

Urban mobility Mayco member Rob Quintas said the City has installed battery powered Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems at about 70% of all intersections, but when Stage 4 (and above) load shedding is implemented, the UPS batteries do not have sufficient time to recharge, and cannot keep signals operating throughout the next outage.

Premier Alan Winde convened an extended Provincial Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night to further discuss the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) contingency plan, which was established at an urgent cabinet meeting on Sunday when Eskom implemented Stage 6 power cuts.

“It is important that we continue to plan for all scenarios as mass power cuts persist. We have preparation plans in place. The purpose of the extended cabinet meeting was to focus on specific service delivery areas which will be affected if load shedding is prolonged or worsens. One major concern was diesel supply, particularly at health care facilities,” Winde said.

kristin.engel@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Original Article

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