- Stage 6 load shedding was implemented by Eskom on Tuesday and is expected to return on Wednesday evening.
- These longer and more frequent power cuts have South Africans searching for alternative energy and lighting products.
- Candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and rechargeable lanterns are especially popular, according to South Africa's major retailers.
- Supermarket chains are also punting braai products.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Eskom's Stage 6 load shedding has seen candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and braai products fly off the shelves of South African retailers.
The implementation of Stage 6 load shedding on Tuesday has seen South Africans rushing to retailers and hardware stores to stock up on alternate power products.
This extreme level of load shedding, set to continue on Wednesday evening, is the result of unexpected plant breakdowns, coupled with regular maintenance of ageing infrastructure – made worse by a recent unprotected strike by Eskom staff.
With the prospect of being powerless for at least six hours a day under Stage 6 load shedding, South Africans are urgently looking for ways in which to keep their lights and basic appliances on.
"During intermittent periods of load shedding, we do see a spike in sales of alternative energy and lighting products, and over time the group has increased its volumes and ranges on related products, including candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and kettle braais," Shoprite told Business Insider South Africa.
Pick n Pay also has a list of products within its "load shedding essentials" catalogue, including power banks, LED torches and headlights, and compact gas stoves.
Consumers are searching hardware stores for more permanent and costly solutions like Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems. These are hard to find at short notice.
Builders, part of the Massmart group that specialises in construction, DIY, and home improvement, has also seen a spike in demand for certain products. Inverters, generators, rechargeable lanterns, and gas products, including cylinders, heaters, and stoves, are especially sought-after.
In addition to these products, which are usually top-of-mind for consumers struck by load shedding, Massmart's product experts recommend other essential products. This includes rechargeable globes that can be placed in regular light fittings and last up to four hours without power, jerry cans, to store petrol to power generators, and surge multi plugs to protect appliances against power surges.
Cooking during periods of load shedding is one of the major challenges identified by retailers. Supermarket chains are now also punting braai products.
"Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets continue to include select products in our promotions, along with various braai-related products, as South Africans often use load shedding as an opportunity to cook on the braai," said Shoprite.