Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest real estate investment trust, said it’s running out of diesel to operate generators at some of its buildings as the country grapples with the worst electricity shortage since 2019.
In a letter to customers at one of its sites in Johannesburg the company said it suppliers are struggling to keep up as Eskom Holdings, the national power utility, cuts as much as 6,000 megawatts from the national grid after a pay strike disrupted operations.
“Our resources are stretched to their limits. Our diesel providers have exhausted their diesel supply,” the company told clients in a letter dated Tuesday. “We kindly request that you make your own contingency plans to secure the integrity of your business and IT infrastructure.”
The inability of diesel supplies to keep up with demand is another indication of the impact the power cuts are having on the South African economy, which has been subjected to intermittent outages since 2008 as Eskom struggles to meet demand.
“It’s creating a huge crunch in the whole economy,” said Craig van Zyl, Growthpoint’s national facility manager, by phone. He said contingencies are being put in place.
Eskom has announced that it will be escalating load shedding to stage 6 on Thursday and Friday – with load shedding expected to continue over the weekend.
This comes as a result of the continued unlawful strike by workers, it said in a statement on Thursday afternoon (30 June). This changes the previously announced schedule, which would have seen load shedding at stage 4 on Thursday.
“The high levels of staff absenteeism and intimidation of working employees in some of the power stations is still rife. This has made it difficult to conduct routine maintenance and other operational requirements, which will further impact the reliability of generation units,” it said.
“Due to the unlawful and unprotected strike, which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plants, Eskom is still unable to return some generators to service. Eskom is compelled to take this unprecedented step to conserve emergency generation capacity to safeguard the power system.”
With additional commentary from Eskom.