To follow Eskom’s daily blackouts schedule, a town in South Africa had to turn off some of its solar panels that generate power.
This will affect businesses because they will lose valuable energy, says Gugu Mokoena, the General Manager of Rural Free State, a private electricity distributor.
“If Eskom or the court stops us from using this, we will face load shedding. That means some businesses may have to close down because they will depend on expensive diesel. And that means the community of Mafube will lose jobs”, she admits.
Power cuts across South Africa can last for up to 12 hours a day. Many businesses cannot afford to run generators for so long using fuel.
“I lost about 5000 chickens in three houses in January because of load shedding. There was high mortality in each house”, said Gary Mbundire, a Manager at a chicken farm in Frankfort.
To cope with the nationwide blackouts by Eskom, local residents and businesses started using energy from the solar power plant in February.
“We have no choice but to take the law into our own hands if they don’t let us use the solar farm or our own electricity. It’s about survival. We can’t let Eskom and NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) stop us from solving the problem that Eskom created. They can’t produce any electricity and we can’t use the electricity we produce. It doesn’t make sense”, Hans Pretorius local farmer warned.