• In the first six months of its financial year, load shedding cost it an average of R800,000 per month, numbers disclosed by hospital group Netcare on Thursday show.
  • If Stage 4 electricity rationing were to return, Netcare could end up spending more than R1 million a month in diesel.
  • That is despite the fact that it has one of the largest solar power footprints of any company in South Africa.

In the first half of its 2019 financial year it spent around R4.8 million on the diesel to run its generators during load shedding, private hospital group Netcare disclosed in a trading update on Thursday.

That is an average of R800,000 per month.

But things could still get worse.

See also: This is how much it will cost to take your home off the grid - and avoid load shedding forever

As long as electricity rationing is limited to Stage 1 and Stage 2, the company told its investors, it will need to buy around R10.3 million worth of diesel to get through the year. Should load shedding return to Stage 4, though, Netcare is looking at a potential cost of R12.9 million – or an average of a little over R1 million a month.

That is despite the fact that Netcare does not rely purely on generators to keep its hospitals and other facilities running. It has 52 sites that generate solar electricity, set up in part under a sustainability initiative. Its combined electricity-generating capacity is among the biggest of any company in South Africa, Netcare says, at 15.5 Gigawatt hours per year. 

In total Netcare operates 200 generators around the country, to back up critical hospital functions, and 25 of its facilities have "full island load capacity" with dual redundancy, which means they can operate without a hitch if grid power goes down.

See also: These parts of Cape Town don’t get load shedding on purpose - here’s why

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