We expose the ugly reality of power unreliability in SA

We expose the ugly reality of power unreliability in SA

We expose the ugly reality of power unreliability in SA

By Jack Ward, MD of Powermode


At the recent launch of the Powermode Management Portal (PMP) – highlighted in my last blog – I released some of the results culled from a research project we undertook. It involved a large South African chain of 90 retail stores country-wide in which we recorded power fluctuations and outages.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we observed more than 80 hours of costly power outages during a one-month period. The research confirmed, as if it was necessary, that grid power in SA is unreliable and is worsening. It is particularly bad in rural and remote industrial areas.

Unfortunately, the power producer’s aging infrastructure is under threat and there seems little political will to address the crisis. Ironically, some of the worst results we obtained were from an area within a stone’s throw of the Ermelo power station.

Fortunately for the retail chain concerned, the most damaging effects of these losses were successfully avoided due to competently-performing standby power solutions. Not all organisations are so well equipped or prepared.

The research brought to light a key problem: Business owners are generally unaware of how effective (or ineffective) their standby systems are and how bad the consequences of power outages can be unless they have a significantly deep insight into the operating effectiveness of these critical resources on a 24×7 basis – as delivered so cost-efficiently by the ground-breaking PMP system.

Our research also underlined the necessity for organisations to reassess their ‘standard country-wide standby power policies and strategies’ should they have them. Today, budgets for standby solutions need to be based on the concept of balancing the investment against return on investment (ROI). To achieve this, accurate monitoring is mandatory. Fortunately, with the increasing availability of the GSM cell phone network, this can now be achieved by the PMP – even in remote areas.