South Africa

JSE says it has a power plan

The operator of South Africa’s main stock exchange says it has enough diesel on hand to burn in generators and keep its systems running for at least six or seven days, updating clients as the country grapples with a deepening electricity supply crisis.

Arrangements are in place to get more of the fuel and to add to water supplies stored at the Johannesburg exchange, operator JSE said on Thursday in what it said was a response to frequently asked questions. 

Eskom, the state-run power utility, has imposed rolling blackouts for 117 consecutive days and this week cut an unprecedented 7,000 megawatts of capacity from the national grid to prevent its collapse.

Companies from miners to food producers and retailers are spending millions of dollars on diesel to keep operations running and cold chains intact, while President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national state of disaster as part of the government’s response to the crisis.

The JSE said a severe disruption to telecommunications caused by power cuts could lead to changes to trading hours and settlement time frames.

A “comprehensive” response to a total failure of the grid has been shared with “key role players,” it said, and it has planned for social unrest caused by a diesel shortage.

Earlier this week, the South African Reserve Bank said the country’s Financial Sector Contingency Forum has been preparing a response to a power grid failure since 2015, and has held simulation exercises to test its readiness.


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