12 minutes

Seriously, who starts writing a blog post 12 minutes before loadshedding is about to start, taking with it computer equipment, connectivity and safety?

Hello. It’s me.

I wouldn’t want to work for Eskom’s social media department. It’s a thankless task, constantly relaying bad news to a bloodthirsty audience of rabid, baying hounds, simply waiting to pounce on your every word.

Or to the keyboard warriors of middle-class South Africa, at least.

Same same.

But you can help yourself out if you’re in that situation. Like by not linking to an article in the Randburg Sun entitled:

Tips to help prevent burglaries during load-shedding

Firstly, this makes people feel (even more) unsafe within their own homes, and secondly, given that Eskom is responsible for the loadshedding, does that not imply some sort of responsibility for the increased crime during loadshedding?
I”m no legal expert, but I think it probably does.

The prosecution rests, your honour. Whenever it gets the chance.

But did they even read the article in question? In fact, did the person who wrote the article in question even read the article in question?

I’m just asking, given that some of the tips include:

Make provision for good outside lighting but switch the lights off during the day

Good outside lighting being imperative when there’s no electricity, of course.

And:

If your house alarm goes off or you hear strange noises or your dogs bark, switch on the outside lights, but do not go outside.

Of course, there being loadshedding, those good outside lights will be of limited no use, but you can flick the switch and hear the click of nothing happening if it makes you feel any better.

Also, because we have a beagle, our dog barking is quite a strange noise, anyway.
Two birds right there.

Ah yes. The lights have just gone out and they won’t be back on for another 2½ hours. It’s the third of these blackouts today and there will be at least another three tomorrow. I’m going to have to post this via my cellphone using the tower in the adjoining neighbourhood – our local one is down, as it always during these times. So now, I need to go and stand in my front garden to get signal.

It’s looking rather dark out there. I’d better go and switch on the outside lights.

 

Oh.

Drink, don’t think

It’s been a bit of a crappy day. Sick son, various work stresses, lots of running around, covid panic, loadshedding. Loadshedding times three, in fact. Seven and a half hours without electricity. Let’s not pretend this is anywhere near the First World.

It all seems horribly out of my control right now.

World’s fucked

commented someone. And he wasn’t far wrong. That’s also (almost) the opening line to Therapy?’s Stop It You’re Killing Me, which given the ever-rising death toll from the virus, seems spookily appropriate.

There are some evenings when you want to drink a bottle of red and think about how things are going and work out how you can improve the situation. But this isn’t one of those evenings. This is just a drink a bottle of red and try not to think about anything kind of evening.

I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling rather hopeless at the moment. But knowing that really doesn’t make things any better.

SARS-CoV-2 spin off facts

I haven’t personally verified these (but they’re all probably more true than yesterday’s nonsense).

The makers of Corona (beer) have already lost sales of R4.3 billion to the coronavirus.

Not because of the name association, just because China was one of their biggest markets and no-one is going out drinking there anymore.

_____

Visits to Mecca halted because of coronavirus outbreaks. 

“Saudi Arabia on Thursday halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over coronavirus fears just months ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, as the Middle East recorded more than 220 confirmed cases.”

Link

And Friday prayers in Tehran have also been cancelled for the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

_____

Coronavirus has cut China’s carbon emissions by 100 million metric tons

That’s as much as Chile produces in a whole year.

Not least because of the slow down in domestic air travel there.

_____

The Rand has fallen through the floor

Global fears over the coronavirus, jittery markets overseas, emerging markets hit hardest, loadshedding still very much a thing, Moody’s downgrade coming. If you were here for good news about the South African economy (because honestly, where else would you go?), I really can’t help. “Soz.”

Carnage

 

 

Otherwise, you well?

Minor loadshedding cost thoughts

Thursday: I went to the gym this morning. Yes, the hard work goes on.

And it was harder work than usual this morning because there was no electricity at the gym. Not directly because of loadshedding, but because of a substation fault, caused by the overnight loadshedding (according to the frustrated electrician I spoke to). Gym was emptier than usual, because a lot of the machines weren’t working, preventing people from working out. In addition, the aircon wasn’t working and it was HOT and humid.

I did what I could on the weights and the freerunning treadmill, but the temperature and yesterday’s blood doning left me a little short of energy.

And then when I left, I couldn’t validate my parking ticket to get my free parking. Understanding this, the car parking people had left the booms open – free parking all round this morning then. And that got me thinking: just how much is this loadshedding costing the economy?

A few thousand for the parking company this morning, maybe?  And even if they get the fault fixed by lunchtime, there’s another 2½ hours of genuine loadshedding this afternoon.

The Kauai outlet in the gym wasn’t able to operate: no fridges, no tillpoints, no smoothie makers, no hot water for coffees. Another few thousand there, maybe?
Pick and Pay was still operating downstairs, their generator churning out noise and fumes, but the other shops weren’t able to open.

And this is just one building, just one morning.

So yes, without electricity, daily life goes on in some limited form or other, but it’s irritating, costly and difficult. And we’re set for at least another 18 months of this nonsense.

Rush Hour Relief

Careful now.

This isn’t some dodgy spin off of the hilarious* Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker series of films. This is Eskom’s plan to suspend loadshedding between 6 and 9 in the morning, and 4 and 6 in the evening. Many (but not all) traffic lights rely on mains electricity to work, and when there is no mains electricity, the situation is a right beagle’s breakfast. And so this is good news and a sensible decision to spare South Africans even more suffering at the hands of the sometime power generating company.

It’s not all happy happy joy joy though. In order to have regular relief from loadshedding, you need to have regular loadshedding, and yes – just checking – we’re getting close to the middle of a week of Stage 2, during which we lose up to 5 hours of power each day. It’s necessary, it’s unavoidable, but as I’ve mentioned before, it’s also infuriating and abnormal.

And then there was this evening, whereby I had plans to use the oven during the 4-6 safety period, but it never arrived (the safety period, not the oven). Not enough generating capacity to provide those extra two hours, apparently. Breakdowns, planned maintenance, an aging system hanging on by its fingertips over the precipice of total collapse. You know, just the routine stuff.

And so we missed out on our relief this evening. Tomorrow morning, we’re due to be loadshod between 6 and 8:30 in the morning. Theoretically, we should avoid the power being cut then as well, but then theoretically, we should have avoided it this evening as well. I had to change my cookery plans this evening, and it wasn’t a train-smash.

If I have to wait two and a half hours for my first coffee tomorrow, the consequences might be slightly different.

 

* T&Cs may apply