by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – SMALL businesses supplying generators are benefitting from MTN South Africa supplementing an aggressive battery rollout as load shedding escalates.
The country’s power crisis has reached excessive levels with Stage 6 implemented.
Charles Molapisi, MTN SA Chief Executive Officer, said the priority is keeping customers connected. To this end, the company is exploring practical and innovative solutions to the power crisis, he assured.
“There is no doubt the country is facing a power crisis but at MTN, we want to turn this crisis into an opportunity for small businesses by ‘crowd sourcing’ generators to further support our network,” Molapisi said.
MTN is inviting all businesses that are in possession of generators, to become potential suppliers to the mobile operator.
The size of the generator supplies is not a factor.
Michele Gamberini, the Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN SA, explained that increased load shedding is a challenge for battery recharging.
“Despite us having placed thousands of batteries at our sites across the country, the efficacy of those batteries greatly reduces once we pass stage 4 load shedding,” Gamberini said.
Gamberini said MTN had upgraded its battery back-up solutions on over 80 percent of the sites already this year and is currently deploying more additional batteries.
However, MTN is still faced with the challenge that the current outage schedule does not allow enough time for batteries to charge.
Battery back-up systems generally take 12-18 hours to recharge, while batteries have a capacity of about 6-12 hours, depending on the site category.
“Consistent outages therefore have a direct impact on the performance of the batteries, while consistent theft of the batteries themselves means replacements need to be installed,” Gamberini said.
In addition to the battery rollout, MTN has also deployed over 2 000 generators to counter the impact of stage 4 (and higher) load shedding.
MTN disclosed it is currently using more than 400 000 litres of fuel per month, to keep the generators operational.
– CAJ News