Attacq (ATTJ.J) plans to reduce its reliance on diesel generators used to keep the lights on at its shopping malls, opting for solar and battery power to cope with the rising costs from the energy crisis in South Africa.
State electricity utility Eskom is implementing the worst rolling blackouts on record, leaving households in the dark for up to 10 hours a day.
This has harmed retailers such as Shoprite (SHPJ.J), Woolworths (WHLJ.J), Pick n Pay (PIKJ.J) and Mr Price (MRPJ.J), whose recent results showed a dent in sales and rise in operating costs as they crank up diesel generators to power stores.
On Monday fashion retailer TFG (TFGJ.J) said its African business would lose about 1 billion rand ($55 million) in retail turnover because of the power outages.
The retailers have said they are collaborating with shopping mall landlords on alternative backup power solutions other than diesel generators which cost a lot more to run.
Attacq, a commercial property group, consumed 204,951 litres of diesel in the six months to Dec.31, up significantly from 11,788 litres used in the comparable prior year, Michael Clampett, an Asset and Property Management Executive at the company told investors.
That equated to 27 million rand.
“Our view is that in the longer term it’s not sustainable to run all our assets as we do today on diesel generators and we’ve got a strategy to wean ourselves off that over time,” Clampett said.
The property group will achieve this through battery rollouts for buildings and precincts and add about 2.3 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar energy to the existing 8.5 MW mainly at its retail hubs, he added.