Loadshedding hurts small businesses

2015-05-05 06:00

Small and medium businesses are struggling to keep the lights on with continued loadshedding threatening their livelihood.

While the threat of continued loadshedding looms large on the national agenda, invoking fears of mass power outages, the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa in Cape Town (Fedhasa Cape) is adding their voice to the call for government to provide adequate energy security intervention.

At the “Business meets Government meeting – focusing on energy security” hosted by provincial government on Tuesday 3 March in Cape Town, Fedhasa Cape chairman, Rob Kucera, raised members’ concerns on the impact of continued loadshedding on the hospitality industry. Of particular alarm is the impact unscheduled and unrestricted loadshedding has on small to medium enterprises (SME) members in the small accommodation and restaurant sectors.

Largely entrepreneurial in nature, these businesses lack the reserves to absorb the losses incurred through loadshedding and have had to resort to extreme measures to remain viable and competitive.

While using generators is an option for some, the cost implication for these businesses are unsustainable over the long term. “Our concern is that small businesses in the hospitality sector already face the uncertainty of seasonal revenue fluctuations and will now need to contend with the added insecurity of loadshedding,” said Kucera.

Members have indicated that they are using gas appliances in their kitchens, limiting menu options to low energy intensive dishes and have installed LED lighting to minimise overall energy costs.

“We believe that the short-term measures applied by our members in particular paints an accurate picture of the stresses faced by the larger SME community in South Africa. While government has reiterated its call to support and grow this sector, we cannot over emphasise the threat continued loadshedding has and will have on the survival of these businesses,” added Kucera

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