MTN selects 2 local SMEs to help with its loadshedding woes

  • MTN has named two companies to aid the telecom in supplying power for its infrastructure amid renewed Stage 4 power cuts.
  • Local companies 24Solutions and SAMO Engineering were selected as part of the ‘crowd sourcing’ initiative.
  • The telecom hopes to expand the initiative moving forward.

South Africans were rudely awakened this morning as Eskom, the country’s ailing power utility, implemented loadshedding without warning, only announcing Stage 4 power cuts 13 minutes after rolling them out across the country.

The power outages seem ceaseless. So far this year the country has been bereft of power for a combined 2 161 hours, according to popular loadshedding tracking app EskomSePush, amounting to a total of 90 straight days without electricity.

It isn’t just individual citizens that are struggling to deal with the endless outages, businesses are also feeling the brunt, even some of the country’s largest.

According to a statement sent to Hypertext, MTN South Africa is currently grappling with increased strain on the battery supply for its network infrastructure across the country due to the constant power cuts.

“The extent and duration of the ongoing power cuts means battery back-up is placed under strain. Back-up systems generally take 12-18 hours to recharge, while batteries have a capacity of about 6-12 hours,” the telecom said.

Aside from the strain imposed on MTN’s batteries from loadshedding, it seems vandalism and theft have also been plaguing the company’s backup power capabilities.

In order to answer these challenges, MTN reached out to small businesses for added capacity. In June, MTN made a plea to SMEs in the country for alternative power supplies to maintain its network operational while its batteries recharge.

“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,” said MTN SA chief executive officer, Charles Molapisi, at the time.

Successful applicants in the crowd-sourcing programme had to meet the following criteria: 

  • 40kVA, petrol or diesel
  • 100 litres minimum capacity tank
  • Maximum noise level: 65dB
  • Trailing cable: 10m
  • DIN 16 male plug

Now the company has announced that two SMEs have been selected to aid it in its loadshedding mitigation: 24Solutions and SAMO Engineering.

24Solutions is an energy service and maintenance company operating in South Africa and Lesotho’s telecom sector, headquartered in Midrand, Gauteng. Their services include generator deployments, and fibre rollouts, as well as generator, vandalism and electrical maintenance and repairs.

Its Midrand neighbour SAMO Engineering is an electrical engineering service integrator in the construction, telecoms, rail and power industries. They have a grocery list of major clients including Eskom, Cell C, Gautrain, Vodacom, Transnet, Prasa, SEACOM and even Anglo American.

Molapisi adds that while the crowd-sourcing initiative has produced some burgeoning success for the company, there are plans to expand it even further.

“It is an absolute priority to ensure digital access is maintained despite the ongoing power crisis. We want to ensure customers stay connected, no matter the situation and we’re thinking out-of-the-box, to find alternative solutions,” the chief executive says.

“I am extremely pleased to see progress on our crowd-sourcing approach to the power crisis we’re all facing. We plan to scale this up even further in future.”

In addition to the battery rollout, MTN has also deployed over 2,000 generators to counter the impact of loadshedding across its infrastructure.


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