Tomorrow?

I mean, everyone is expecting it. And the jokes are flowing freely on the socials:

But Eskom are fighting back – with facts (allegedly).

Tuesday, 28 May 2024: Eskom has noted with concern the fake news trending on social media regarding loadshedding resuming on 30 May 2024. Loadshedding has been suspended for 62 consecutive days and continues to be suspended.

The previous Power Alert issued by Eskom was on 24 May 2024, where Eskom announced the continued suspension of loadshedding.

Our generation availability continues to perform well as a result of the Generation Recovery Plan that commenced in March 2023, as well as our intensive planned maintenance. Unplanned outages are averaging at 12 500MW, below what was anticipated for our winter outlook.The energy availability factor (EAF) of four of our power stations is performing above 70%. Our year-to-date EAF is improving gradually and is currently at 60.73%.


Eskom will provide regular updates and the next update will be on Friday, 31 May 2024.

Ah. So Friday, then.

Powerless

A surprise, yet scheduled, power cut today. For infrastructure maintenance, we’re told. That’s good. Some places don’t get their electricity infrastructure maintained. Like the rest of South Africa, for example.
Ostensibly, we’re off for a whole 14 hours. Without warning, nogal.
Well, apparently, there was a warning, but we weren’t told about it. And that’s one of the fundamental things about warnings. If you don’t get them, then you are very much unwarned.
And so we are quite literally without electricity, without warning.

It’s like getting loadshedding back, which might be good training for next week when everyone thinks we’ll be getting loadshedding back…

An aside for foreign readers: next week is election week here, and it’s widely believed that loadshedding has been done away with for the last 7 weeks in the hope that the voting public will conveniently forget that the current (no pun intended) ruling party can’t even supply the most basic of services. Quite whether this is true or not is up for debate, but it’s an entirely reasonable suggestion. Quite how the electricity grid is being propped up is also a bit of a mystery, but it seems like it’s billions of Rands worth of diesel, some sticky tape, and prayers to several (or more) deities. It’s also completely unsustainable. And furthermore, it’s pointless after the polling stations close on Wednesday evening. Hence the widespread belief that we’ll be back to Stage n very shortly.
But I digress. Often.

The council have also chosen the darkest, most miserable day to do the work. Thick black clouds, a cold Westerly breeze, drizzle. If this was Sheffield, I’d look at those clouds and fully expect snow. That’s unlikely to happen though. Still, not only will this inclement weather slow the workers down, it’s also preventing our little home solar setup from helping out with the power situation. We’re only a month away from the winter solstice, and so even if we could see the sun – which is some 151½ million kilometers away anyway – it would only be up for 10 hours and would only drag itself to 35o above the horizon.
I’m not an expert on solar power, but we need is closer, higher sun, for longer.

If we’d had some warning (which we didn’t – see above), then I could have pumped up the batteries and lived a near normal life. Instead, we’ve been in deficit since we woke up, and despite my best power-saving efforts, I’m helplessly watching what’s left slowly, inexorably slip away.

I might be tempted to rig up some sort of system so that as the batteries give up completely, they give a comedic beep…beep…beeeeeeeeeeep noise like one might hear in rather less comedic circumstances in a hospital ICU.
But then again, I suppose that that would only use more power. Which we don’t have. Because of the power cut.

On the plus side, there has been a delicious lack of angle-grinding and jack-hammery from the nearby building site. This is not going to assist with my waning electricity issues, but it has made it a whole lot quieter while the power runs out.

And it’s clearly the little wins that I’m going to have to focus on today.

I’m powerless to do anything else.

Is this winter (at last)?

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but we’re well into May, and we’ve only really had one brief spell of rain so far this year. And that wasn’t even a cold front: it was a cut-off low that wasn’t as bad as anyone really expected it to be. But however the rain fell, it was the only rain we’ve had in over 5 months.

I’m not sure if anyone is getting a bit anxious over this situation, given Cape Town’s recent droughty history. Maybe we’ve all been concentrating too much on the twin disasters of loadshedding and the upcoming election to notice how dry it’s been, but with the dam levels at just 62%, we really could do with a bit of precipitation now, please.

Fortunately, today looks like it might actually deliver. A proper cold front, with a gusty Northwester and anything up to 12mm of rain heading in sometime this afternoon before things thankfully resolve ahead of the footy match I’m playing on Wednesday evening. And then it looks like Friday might chuck a bit more at us, if we’re lucky.

Look, I know that we all wish that summer could go on forever. The sunshine is great for generating electricity, making the decision to braai a lot easier, and encouraging us to get out and about. Not least to the pub. But that’s clearly not practical in even the medium term. You have to take the rough with the smooth when breaking your eggs to make an omelette.

So get your firewood ready, wrap up warmly, and let’s face the 3 months of cold, wet weather so that we can actually enjoy the brighter, warmer stuff when it comes around again. And we can rejoice in not having to use standpipes to get our drinking water.

A better day

I’m on the mend, and some nice drugs quickly made my unmanageable headache manageable this morning, so I’ve been up and about and trying to catch up with all the jobs I’ve missed out on doing this week. The sun has kicked in as well, meaning that I feel (somewhat) more confident in prepping the garden and our outside spaces for Spring and some nicer weather.

The only dissention at this change in season seems to be coming – vocally – from the local Cape Rain Frog population. They’re much happier when it’s wet and cool. These blue skies and warm sunshine aren’t for them. They’re letting us know.

I’m still a little short of oomph, so things aren’t going as quickly as they could be, but on the plus side, at least the sun has charged up the house batteries and meant that I can do some energy-heavy tasks like washing the washing machine. Our Bosch machine has a special programme for this, which is 90 minutes of splashing around clean water at 90oC. Super effective, but not something that you want to be paying for via your meter. Hence today being a good day to do it: we’re dragging 3000W in at the moment, more than 80% of it going straight there.

I know. Sounds like an odd one until you see the colour of the water that’s supposedly “cleaning” your clothes. I’m well aware that even with your own Spring cleaning programme in full swing, you’re not looking for a sign to wash your washing machine, but if by any chance you were, then this is it.

Anyway. Lawn done, washing machine done, energy (mine) depleted. Time to sit down (and probably fall asleep) in front of the football.

Meanwhile, in South Africa…

Here’s today’s news:

> Stage 5 loadshedding: meaning an average of 10 hours without electricity each day.

Here’s our local supermarket’s tongue-in-cheek repsonse:

Yes, those are candles. A huge array of many different types of candle.
And yes, that light top right was being powered by a generator.

> There’s a massive fuel price increase this week because the government has f*****d the Rand:

“Motorists are in for a shocking fuel price increase from Wednesday. The price of petrol will go up by R1.71 per litre, diesel by R2.84 and paraffin by R2.78.”

> The President is attending the inauguration of Zimbabwe’s President, even though the entire world knows that the election was more rigged than a particularly complex 19th Century tea clipper:

…the elections were marred by controversy – including issues with the voters’ roll, the banning of opposition rallies, reports of biased state media coverage and voter intimidation.

> Cyril will then be heading home to “address the nation”, and tell us that the enquiry by the SA government into whether the SA government supplied arms to Russia has found out that the SA government didn’t supply arms to Russia, but the SA government can’t show us the SA government report exonerating the SA government, because that would “jeopardise the work of the SA armed forces”.

> And all this is being rubbed like salt into an open wound as the ANC shitterati dance with each other while the country falls apart:

“The mood [fire emoji] [fire emoji]”?
Is it,? That’s weird, because the mood is very different across everyone else in the country. But then I guess that it’s easy to be happy and dancey when your continual mismanagement, gross incompetence and widespread corruption only negatively affect other people.

Ugh. Trash.