Supply of generators dries up
Johannesburg, South Africa - 23 January 2008
Homeowners and businesses are being forced to generate their own electricity as power failures
bring South Africa to a standstill, but suppliers are running out of generators and many do not
expect new stocks for weeks, the Sowetan reported on Wednesday.
David Cooksley, a generator engineer and supplier in Johannesburg, told the newspaper that he had
run out of stock and even the parts to build them.
He said clients had paid for generators that he could not finish building because he did not have the
cages to mount them in.
"We can't find supplies, alternators, bars, you name it. There is nothing in the country to build new
generators with and this spells a waiting period of about eight weeks," he said.
The manager of Uri's Hardware in central Johannesburg told the paper that the demand for
generators had rocketed since last Monday.
"The demand is far greater than what we can supply."
He said 99% of the inquiries he received were from anxious people who wanted to know about
"It is nice to get calls, but to explain the same thing over and over again the whole day long, is a
different story," he said.
Cooksley, who builds generators for household use and for big companies, said an entry-level
generator that would produce 6 000w would cost about R7 900.
"And this is only a baby generator that would require the user to juggle appliances."
A high-end generator that would power a geyser, stove, appliances, plugs and lights, would cost
about R33 000.
"This would be able to run everything at once, but each household is different and uses different
appliances," he said.
Cooksley said generator suppliers were flourishing as many small businesses feared they would be
forced to close their doors because of the power failures.
"And this is going to last a couple of years because clearly Eskom does not have ideas." - Sapa