Distribution and Warehousing Network (Dawn,) a construction materials manufacturer, is investing R27m on installing uninterruptable power supplies (UPSes) at its operations across South Africa, in order to mitigate the negative impact of load shedding on the company’s financial results.
Since December last year, the group recorded 37 power supply interruptions, which was estimated to have cost the company close to R9m in earnings.
Dawn CEO Derek Tod said the group planned to install UPSes and alternative power supply at its plastics subsidiary DPI’s Roodekop and Bellville facilities, as well as at Dawn’s Sangio and Durban facilities.
“Because of the sensitive nature of power flow, you just need a marginal dip or a quick interruption and it causes problems in extrusion. It is vital that we are freestanding,” he said.
The group aimed to complete the installations by May, but was still completing a tender process.
Dawn Africa operations and manufacturing CEO Gerhard Kotzee said there was “some design work that was taking place at the operations,” but that the company was planning to go to market with a joint tender.
Tod noted that DPI Roodekop used about 1.6MW a month, which needed some infrastructure for the alternative power supply, while its Vaal operations required “a generator that you could just plug and play.”
“At our big operations, we are looking at about 3MW a month,” Kotzee added.
He explained that the company could not estimate the extent of further financial losses, as this would depend on load shedding characteristics in the ensuing months. “If you are given the very clear programme that [parastatal] Eskom has made known and they stick to that programme, you can avoid a lot of the issues.
“However, we find that in the Western Cape, they are very specific [in following the Eskom schedule], but here in the manufacturing base in Gauteng, it [does not follow the schedule,] as was seen recently,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tod pointed out that the company had already implemented lighting refurbishments at all of its operations. “At our distribution site in Germiston, we have reduced [the electricity bill] by R120,000 a month, just by going through these [refurbishments.]”