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Forum helps business cope with the power crisis

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The SAIEE is to convene an urgent information forum aimed at empowering the South African industry and business community with the ability to develop strategies to cope with the power crisis over the next five years and beyond. 

This will take the shape of an intensive half-day workshop that will bring together senior representatives from Eskom, local authorities and the country’s top engineering experts.  
The workshop will take place from 13h00 to 17h00 on 11 February at the John Maree Auditorium Eskom Training Centre, in Midrand. Entry will be free of charge and business and industrial management,   as well as private consumers, are urged to attend. However, booking is essential (see details at the bottom of this article).
SAIEE President Ian McKechnie says the Institute wishes to take a constructive approach to the power crisis and in doing so add value to the SA business, industrial and private consumer community.
“We are taking a three pronged approach to this problem by getting key players together in one room to arm the business, industrial and private consumer community with the guidance needed to devise coping strategies for the next five to seven years and beyond.
"We are providing a forum whereby clear information will be presented on the nature and extent of the problem, the strategies that are in place right now and future plans.
" It is intended that this will assist decision makers in business and industry to better understand the depth of the current problem and help them to deal with it. This workshop also aims to provide the business and private consumer sector with advice on self-help strategies.”
McKechnie says, firstly, Eskom will provide information and expand on the nature and extent of the present crisis and its current intervention processes, as well as its strategy to ease the situation in the short- and longer-term.
“Eskom will also outline what the forecast is for power supply over the next five years.”
City Power has been invited as a representative local authority to reveal its plans to handle the situation and facilitate a functional life for both consumers and business.
The third component will take the form of advising the attendees on “the tools” that are currently available that can be utilised to manage within the constraints on energy availability and reliability, and to also contribute to demand-side management and increased efficiency in the use of electricity.
“Top engineering practitioner Professor Willie Cronje, from Wits University's School of Electrical and Information Engineering, will explain the range of technologies and engineering solutions available to business and industry to enable them to cope with this problem.  He will also discuss the topic of demand-side management and increased efficiency in the use of electricity.
McKechnie notes that lack of information leads to confusion and uncertainty and results in a reduced ability to effectively develop coping strategies.
“We cannot go forward unless we have complete understanding of all the complexities involved in this issue. It is the SAIEE’s objective to facilitate a platform for comprehensive information sharing,” says McKechnie.
He adds that attendees should leave the workshop armed with pertinent information to better understand the problems, issues and situation moving forward and be equipped with information about the "tools", solutions and options available.  
“It is hoped that this will then assist attendees in the development of tailored strategies, suited to their specific needs, which are geared to effectively assist in coping with the situation over the next five years.”
If the forum proves successful in Gauteng, the SAIEE will take it to other centres around the country with the same formula aimed at adding value to the South African business, industrial and private consumer community.
Booking is through the SAIEE on (011) 487 3003 or via email at geyerg@saiee.org.za. Details can also be viewed on the SAIEE website at www.saiee.org.za.