Sky-high energy prices have caused Mars PetCare to halt production for the second day running, with a Border business leader saying shutdowns were widespread and untenable.
Australia Industry Group's Tim Farrah said high power prices and subsequent production halts were hurting small operations and making the country less attractive to manufacturers.
Wholesale electricity prices are forecast to increase to hit $14,000 Megawatt Hour at 2.30 on Friday and were predicted to remain that price or above until 7.30pm.
Mars PetCare, one of Wodonga's biggest employers, announce operations would again cease from 3.30pm on Friday until 7.30pm.
A Mars spokeswoman confirmed staff were being paid as normal through the production halt and said the company was looking to renewable energy to avoid further shutdowns in the future.
In 2018, Mars signed a 20-year deal with renewable company Total Eren to buy solar power to power its six Australian factories.
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By 2020, the company aims to fully source electricity from renewables.
“In addition to delivering the carbon reductions under our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, one of the other reasons we’ve contracted for renewable electricity is the price stability it offers, protecting our business from situations like this," the spokeswoman said.
Australian Industry Group's Tim Farrah said companies of all sizes were feeling the pinch of high power costs.
"There's not fat to trim anymore," he said.
"Smaller operations don't have the capacity to carry that cost for long.
"It puts their viability in jeopardy because profit margins at the moment are very thin and they've been that way for a while.
"Five years ago [production shutdowns] would have been unheard of."
Mr Farrah said when companies like Mars have to halt production, it makes Australia look unattractive to those looking to compete on a global market.
"It's not just a local issue, it would have impacted producation across the state with different people needing to shut down," he said.
"It does have a bit impact in terms of viability when people are looking to invest in Australia.
"Businesses wonder if it's viable here or if they'd be better off in another country.
"It affects our attractiveness as a nation, we need manufacturers to come here, they're great employers and generate lots of money through national and local supply chains.
"I know Mars use a lot of local supply chains."
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