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MTN ‘crowdsourcing’ generators to combat loadshedding

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MTN South Africa has announced that it is embarking on an “aggressive” rollout of batteries and alternative power sources, as well as sourcing generators from small businesses.

The company made the announcement on 29 June, as South Africans continue to grapple with rolling blackouts and Stage 6 loadshedding.

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Loadshedding impacts mobile operator services too, which is why some users may notice issues with their signal and mobile services. When the backup batteries for cell towers deplete, customers may experience connectivity issues.

As part of its backup power rollout, MTN will be reaching out to small businesses for generators.

“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,” Charles Molapisi, MTN SA CEO, said in a statement.

MTN says that businesses that have generators can become potential suppliers to the company.

“Whether the business has two or 20 generators, MTN is looking to partner,” MTN says.

MTN notes that it has thousands of batteries at sites across the country. But with limited time to recharge at higher stages of loadshedding, the company needs to look at other power solutions too.

“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,” Michele Gamberini, Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN SA, said in a statement

Loadshedding also impacts the longevity of batteries, while battery theft also constrains the business.

As such, the mobile operator is deploying generators to assist battery recharging during stage 4 and higher. Currently, over 2000 generators have been deployed.

What generators is MTN looking for?

Businesses that want to become part of MTN’s supply network can contact the company on power@mtn.com.

MTN is looking for generators that meet specific requirements.

The minimum specifications for generators are:

  • 40kVA
  • Petrol or diesel generator
  • Minimum tank capacity of 100 litres.
  • Maximum noise level of 65dB.
  • Trailing cable: 10m.
  • Uses a DIN 16 male plug.   

MTN also notes that suppliers will be subject to due governance and procurement protocols. However, the process will be more streamlined.

Read more: Is there a way to predict loadshedding?

 

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