Growthpoint struggles to refuel generators amid power cuts


Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest real estate investment trust, said its struggling to keep up with the demand for 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, 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.

Still, the company’s chief operating officer Engelbert Binedell later said, it has access to diesel but “the logistics of transporting diesel to the many properties in our portfolio with generators and ensuring these generators are constantly replenished is very challenging.” The note had been sent to clients “prematurely.”

Growthpoint has installed 13.2 megawatts of renewable power at its properties over the last decade and plans to boost that to 32 megawatts by the end of 2023.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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