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Life with load shedding.

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Do any of you know what load shedding is? Because not many countries do, outside of South Africa.

Let me try and explain (Google’s dictionary):

noun

  1. action to reduce the load on something, especially the interruption of an electricity supply to avoid excessive load on the generating plant.

That is it, in a nut shell. Why is it necessary? And I’m talking specifically regarding South Africa. Again, as succinctly as possible:

Eskom chief operations officer, Jan Oberholzer, publicly stated that the primary reason for load shedding was due to a lack of maintenance and neglect over the preceding twelve years resulting in an unpredictable and unreliable system.’

Read the whole piece here.

Thanks to our present government, who does not believe in maintenance – they wait until something is so broken that it needs weeks/months to fix, IF there is money to do so, because the money has a way of mysteriously disappearing in this country…

So, life with load shedding… We have periods of load shedding, on and off, according to maintenance needed, or shortages of coal, etc. Those periods happen unexpectedly. Out of the blue, if you have the load shedding app (YES! – we have an app for that!) you get a message that says load shedding stage 1/2/3/4/5/6 will be implemented as from 14h00 today! Then you quickly scan the schedule so you can try and be prepared for it, as best you can. Different times for different areas. It can be two and a half hours from 16h00 – 18h30. Or 14h00 – 16h30. Whatever. I’m sure you get the idea.

A lot of people have installed solar systems, but not everybody can afford that, like me. Fortunately I do have a gas stove, so I can have coffee and tea, or cook while the electricity is off. We all have some way of creating a bit of light – battery operated lamps, rechargeable lamps, candles, etc. And then all you can do is wait it out, because the wifi also goes when there is no power. No TV. Which is all fine if it happens in daytime, because you can go for a walk, work in the garden, go shopping, but when it happens in the evenings, or at night, what do you do? Go to bed at eight?

I’m sure you can imagine all kinds of ways in which this system is uncomfortable. Businesses suffer – not all of them can buy a generator to keep going even when there is no electricity. Working from home becomes complicated.

We are all a bit fed up with this whole debacle, I promise you. But there is always the positive side to it, isn’t there – ‘It could’ve been worse!’