South Africa: Load Shedding - a Boom for Generator Sales

(file photo).

Generators are flying off the shelves of giant retail stores as a result of load shedding that is unlikely to loosen its grip on the country any time soon.

The increase in sales comes as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday announced that there was no end in sight for load shedding.

"We understand the frustration and we want to apologise for the additional burden we are placing on the people of South Africa," Gordhan said.

Eskom has been implementing stage 4 load shedding due to a shortage of available capacity.

The power utility's website contains load shedding schedules up to stage 8 but it has not implemented stages beyond stage 4.

Gordhan said that the government and Eskom were determined not to go beyond stage 4 load shedding where 4 000 MW has to be shed in long and regular blackouts to business and residential consumers.

During visits to three Massmart outlets in Johannesburg on Wednesday, News24 saw an influx of customers who wanted to get their hands on generators to keep the lights on.

At Builders Express in Bergbron, west of Johannesburg, only one generator was left in the store.

Employees said they were selling like "hot cakes".

"We had a good number of them in this store and since load shedding started, they are selling faster than many items in the store. Soon if you need one, you will have to order it because they sell quickly," said a staff member.

"The demand is very high. We have customers arriving all day looking for generators. Tomorrow it is a holiday and people will be off duty meaning the demand will be higher. We are battling to please everybody and it is sad to see customers leaving without getting what they needed. Since load shedding started, generators are in high demand," said an employee.

At a Builders Warehouse, also in Strubens Valley, workers explained to customers that they had run out of generators except for one which was displayed outside the entrance of the store.

There too workers said they were dealing with a huge demand for generators and are anticipating more customers requesting them.

Source: <b>News24</b>

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