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Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The Tourism and hospitality industry in KwaZulu-Natal is losing millions as a result of the ongoing Eskom power shedding.

Experts have warned that the industry was hardest hit when compared to other businesses

The impact has been felt by small resorts especially bed and breakfast operators.

Warren Ozard, operations manager for Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) said their members had lost a lot of business last month.

"The hospitality industry is dying and the situation is worrying for all of us.

Some resorts received calls from clients for accommodation but would only confirm bookings if they have the back up systems.

Small resorts, bed and breakfast in the province are losing out on their daily business," he said.

Ozard said restaurants have suffered tremendously since the power cuts started.

"A three hour-cut in the hospitality industry is huge. Some of the businesses have no generators and gas stoves and to introduce these systems is very expensive.

No generators mean no business for many. Most resorts are flooded with questions of back-up systems even before bookings are made for conferences and events."

Ozard said to the contrary hotels on the Durban's beachfront have never suffered blackouts.

"These hotels are not being affected by the load -shedding as they appear to be attracting the bulk of the tourist trade."

Municipal officials in Durban were not available to explain why Durban hotels were exempt or remained unaffected by the power-cuts.

Meanwhile while resorts around central Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal suffer from the power cuts their neighbour Paul Brogan has managed to avoid.

Brogan has a small hydroelectric generator that he bought in Vietnam.

The generator requires nine litrers of water per second to produce the 230 volts required to charge an array of batteries where the power is stored.

Its inverter supplies AC voltage required for domestic use and it has large solar panel as back up system in case of dry season.

He said he investigated the viability of a joint solar and hydro scheme to power to his home.

"I never have power cuts in my home even at once while resorts and my neighbours suffer tremendously.

Other people around here use diesel generators that are also expensive to maintain," he said.

Brogan said his system had cost him over R100 000 including installation.

He said Eskom did not allow him to supply power to his neighbours.

"The solar-hydro combination is a long term solution.

My system supplies all my electrical appliances."