Unfortunately, this is the reality, by default, for every electricity consumer on South Africa and those in neighboring countries.

Existing generation capacity, maintenance on a severely neglected transmission and distribution infrastructure and spiraling debt are all long term factors that are impacting on Eskom’s ability to provide electricity.

These are not problems that will be solved in the short term. These are all a minimum of a 5 year plan. That is also of course if the plan goes according to plan, which has not happened yet. Unless you have made a plan for back-up power when these ongoing ‘load rotations’ happen your home and business will suffer. If you were an early adopter and have already made the move to renewables, then not only are you already ahead of the curve, but you are more than likely close to having recovered your ROI. The recent court case victory by Eskom over NERSA in terms of pricing could well mean that your ROI is about to make some really good returns.

Most hybrid systems take between 5-7 years to make a return, based on an annual increase of about 10%. The reality is that Eskom’s tariff increases will be more than that especially if you see more than one a year. The compounded increase will be more than that. (2 x 5% increases is effectively 11.03%).

In a business perspective, it is not simply the cost of the electricity to consider, but the loss of production and man hours that becomes a crucial consideration. The added benefit of investing in solar as a business is that you can write-off the investment over 3 years, it really does make a lot of sense.

Have a read of Dr Rod Crompton’s (non-executive board member at Eskom)analysis of the situation at the parastatal.

Draw your own conclusions.

South Africa’s electricity supply: What’s tripping the switch

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