Johannesburg businesses reel under power cuts

In Johannesburg's Fordsburg and Mayfair suburbs, businesses were forced to close early for the first time in six years.

Johannesburg businesses reel under power cuts

World Bulletin/News Desk

Several businesses in South Africa's economic capital Johannesburg have been badly affected by power cuts, blamed partially on heavy rains.

"I normally close my shop at 9.30pm but due to the power outage, I couldn't take the risk and stay long. I had to close by 6pm," Mohamed Bhai, a store owner in the Johannesburg suburb of Fordsburg, told Anadolu Agency.

"I lost income I must admit," he added.

Most businesses were paralyzed in Johannesburg on Thursday after Eskom, the country’s power supplier, cut electricity supply in most parts of the city.

"Eskom calls on consumers to urgently switch off geysers, pool pumps, and all non-essential appliances throughout the day to further reduce the impact of rational load-shedding," the company said in a statement.

It cited increased technical problems as a result of a week of heavy rains.

"The power system is very tight. This risk has increased significantly due to the heavy rains over the last few days and an increase in technical problems experienced at some of Eskom’s power stations," it said.

On Friday, the company – which provides South Africa with 95 percent of its electricity needs - urged consumers to rationalize their energy usage to avoid "a total blackout."

South Africans experienced the worst blackouts in 2008.

Costly

In Johannesburg's Fordsburg and Mayfair suburbs, businesses were forced to close early for the first time in six years.

Police vehicles were seen patrolling most parts of the two areas at night, fearing criminals might exploit the situation.

By 7pm there were no people in most parts of the city as they rushed home for safety in a country with a high crime rate, according to AA correspondent.

After the power cuts, most big businesses decided to buy their own power generators.

"I have acquired a generator. It will automatically switch on in case power goes off," Hoosen Khan, a manager at Johannesburg butchery, told AA.

"In the butchery business you have to have your meats frozen 24/7 or it will go bad and you will be in a loss," he added.

Last Mod: 09 Mart 2014, 10:45
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