By Michael Jordaan – Chairman Bank Zero
Every small business that I talk to is suffering from load-shedding. It is simply not possible to run a modern economy without power. We can forget about being competitive in the 4th Industrial revolution if we cannot fix the basics like power, water and the rule of law. After all, electricity was the main source of progress in the 2nd Industrial Revolution and that was 150 years ago!
I haven’t lost faith that we will win in the end, but to survive and even thrive, we must confront the brutal facts of our current reality and take the right actions to adapt. The brutal facts are that 2022 has already been South Africa’s most intensive load-shedding year while energy availability (at 53%) is also at an all-time low. Things will most likely get worse in 2023 as Eskom’s coal fleet continues to deteriorate while renewables and independent power producers take time to come on stream.
Eskom has indicated that in this calendar year to date, they have already burnt through R11b of diesel. Research consultancy Intellidex estimates that prolonged load-shedding is costing us between R150m and R250m a day. A year of loadshedding amounts to a horrific R73b. The unquantifiable costs such as huge job losses, loss of confidence by investors and skilled emigration is wreaking long-term havoc on the economy.
Here’s what doesn’t help: ranting on social media, pointing fingers and saying “they should”. Of course you’re completely within your rights to criticise and you’re most probably right in the macro solutions too. Still, the best way to solve a problem is to do something about it. Fortunately, there is a huge amount that business and individuals can do to save billions, to off-set the above impact. Moreover, it is far more energising (excuse the pun) to be part of the solution than to criticise from the side-lines.
Here are three impactful things you can do to adapt and save money – if everyone in South Africa did just this, it could potentially save up to R117b per year. You’ll see that most are remarkably easy, you just have to do something about it.
The current pain experienced is calling for change, as doing nothing means even more pain. My hope is that some of you will see that there are ways to not just wait to make things better, but to make things better yourself.