LOCAL businesses have raised concerns about what will happen if Eskom implements stages five to eight load shedding as they are already battling with the recent load shedding episodes.Eskom recently announced that it had extended its load shedding regime from four stages to eight stages, which could leave affected areas without power for six or seven out of the 12 load-shedding slots per day.CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business Melanie Veness said load shedding at these levels would most certainly close down businesses. “It’s unsustainable,” she said. “There is no way around that. Government cannot expect us to work two hours on and two hours off when it takes some factories that amount of time to ramp up. “Government’s mandate is to create an enabling environment — load shedding is utterly disabling. This level of load shedding renders business completely unable to function,” she said. Branch manager at Macdonald Steel Pietermaritzburg Hylton Deale said they have a generator large enough to run their entire premises but he was still concerned about the fluctuating power damaging machinery.“Businesses who don’t have big generators as back-up are worse affected. Generators cost a lot and are very expensive to maintain as diesel prices are constantly on the rise; it’s an expense that is not acceptable. We had to invest in a generator years ago because without power we wouldn’t be able to operate. “I know some of my friends had to dig deep into their pockets to buy generators in order to stay in business when it shouldn’t be the case; we pay for the service after all. It is an inconvenience but we’ve worked around it. “You pay about R30 000 to R40 000 a month for electricity but you still need to have a side budget to operate a generator,” he ended.