If the massive cold front hitting Cape Town this morning was the starter, and the ongoing virus pandemic was the main course, might I be able to offer you a side salad of loadshedding with your meal, sir?
Side salad because it doesn’t require a microwave or oven, because yes, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha was on the radio this morning telling us that:
The generation system is constrained due to the cold front… some of the generation units have broken down. There is a high probability of load shedding during the evenings between five and nine, starting today.
These machines – as we keep reminding the people of South Africa – are quite unreliable and prone to break down when they’re run hard.
We’re seeing high demand due to the cold front. We’ve had to use all our resources – including burning diesel… Even that may not be enough…
As the old saying goes: It never rains… (although it clearly does and it clearly is).
So dig out your candles and your blankets and please switch off anything electrical that you don’t need (because maybe we could still avoid this if demand drops enough).
While the rest of the world was worrying about some microbiological thing or other, SA has been in the grips of a huge bout of loadshedding after jellyfish blocked an inlet pipe at our local nuclear power station.
Actually, this happens more than you might think. 1.73 million results can’t be wrong, right?
But I don’t care about Canada or Sweden or Japan. Our issue is with Koeberg, just up the road. And it seems that we’re likely to get our 980MW back into the grid by Sunday. But will that be soon enough?
Because suddenly, God’s on the job:
I wouldn’t normally believe this sort of nonsense, but this was said with authority – and not just anyone’s authority, but with authority in the might name of Jesus Amen and Amen.
I’m not sure if this is a different Jesus to the one we learned about at school. I think he was called Jesus Christ and not Jesus Amen and Amen. But that was a long time ago and I think it was all made up anyway.
Anyway, given that Mighty God and Jesus Amen and Amen are omnipresent and omnipotent, I think that questions should be asked about whether they had anything to do with the swarm of jellyfish that blocked our power station and prompted this overseas takeover of our power generation. I’m not saying that things were all rosy before, because they really weren’t, but this convenient squishy invertebrate plug being applied to the inlet pipe just up the west coast has certainly paved the way for their sponsored coup, hasn’t it?
Get what I’m saying?
Follow the money. Just saying.
I don’t think that Adele has anything to do with this. She just seems like the spokesperson for the cult on this particular issue.
I’m not big fan of the Mighty God and JAaA, but if this theist-led company sweeps in from overseas, I won’t miss the loadshedding. And if it goes well, then maybe they can make a start on sorting out this virus thing as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eskom (our state-notverywell-run power utility) has warned again of potential loadshedding this evening*. Of course, the system could always go tits up well before that, or not at all. I realise that this isn’t an exact science and despite also being really pissed off about it, I do see that there’s no point in pretending that their predictive abilities should be 100%.
Don’t shoot the messenger.
And while not wanting in the slightest to normalise loadshedding (because we should be angry and vocal about it) we still need to get on with our lives. Being aware of what might be happening later allows us to plan ahead and be prepared. We don’t have to enjoy it, but it does make a crappy situation slightly more bearable if you know it’s coming.
Equally, if there are simple actions we can all take to mitigate the risk of loadshedding, I don’t see why we shouldn’t take them. Surprise, surprise: most of these actions involve using less electricity. People mock Eskom as being the only company in the world trying to dissuade customers from using its product, but actually, most utilities (water, gas, electricity) around the globe recognise that sensible usage of resources is a good thing. I remember visits to school from the Yorkshire Electricity Board telling us to switch off lights and not overfill kettles – it’s just the same sort of idea.
An aside: When Eskom announce these “ways to cut down on your electricity usage and help us avoid loadshedding” things, some people will always respond with something along the lines of:
Screw you. I’m going to use as much electricity as I can, just because you said not to. I’m not listening to your advice, you useless, corrupt bunch of [afrikaans anatomy]. Switching ALL my lights on RIGHT NOW!
These people are fucking idiots, and will be the same ones who complained about the size of their electricity bill just a few days previously. Not only will this raise the chances of loadshedding (albeit by a tiny amount), it will also cost them more money at the end of the month. Tosspots.
Anyway, I digress. Often.
Eskom really took the proverbial biscuit this time around, by telling South Africa how to use… a window and some curtains.
Right. It’s a complex set of instructions, but I’m going have a go at explaining it. I think (think) what they are saying is that when it is light outside… and you need some of that light to come inside into your living room or bedroom… you should open your curtains and/or blinds. This will allow unfettered passage of light through the transparent aperture in the window space, and into the room in question.
So that’s light… from outside… coming inside. Still with me? Good.
But oh noes! This will surely only work during the day! That’s because after the day, the sun goes to sleep and is replaced by the night shift crew of the moon and the stars, so there is no light. Apparently, the technical term for this is “dark”. Even if you open your curtains and blinds at this time, no light will come inside from outside, because there is no light to come inside from outside.
It seems that at this point, the general advice is that you should switch on electric lights. Assuming that electricity is available to make them work (and really, who knows if that will be the case), this will allow the room to be lit from the inside. You should probably remember to close your curtains and blinds if you are taking this approach, because otherwise, the light will escape to the outside and the Luftwaffe will know where to bomb.
Wow. I’m already exhausted. I think we need to take a break here, before we overload on how to use “curtains” and “blinds”. It’s all just so deeply technical.
So let’s leave it here for now, maybe read through this again when you’ve had a quick nap. But be warned: tomorrow, we move onto “doors” and “doorways” and the advantages of them being open when trying to use them as a means of entering or exiting a room.
But don’t worry about that right now. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Today is all about windows. And loadshedding.