It’s been a long one

Exhausting day. And yet I seem to have achieved very little. Or at least nothing big. Does that make sense? Stage 6 loadshedding (despite him saying this). A bit of wasted afternoon. All rather frustrating.

On the plus side, it ended with some very decent Frankie Fenner (no relation (I don’t think, at least)) lamb burgers over the coals, partnered beautifully by some quickly homemade mint sauce.

Tomorrow: gym, singing exam (not me), football (watching), braai (not me again).

And hopefully still time for a better blog post, more jobs and less frustration.

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.

Bad graph

This graph of cumulative loadshedding hours over the last 6 years makes very depressing viewing.

Ouch. The 2023 line…

We’ve clearly surpassed the 2022 total GWh shed already, and it’s not even June yet. I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations, and I reckon that with a continuation of this years trend (which – let’s be honest here – is also actually our best case scenario at the moment), we would top the cumulative figures for the last 5 years put together by about halfway through July.

But whatever happens…

(Please note that I’m not being deliberately flippant. I’m merely deflecting and avoiding genuine fear through the medium of basic maths and memes.)

Second worst job in SA

Social Media Manager for Eskom being at number 1.

But Social Media Manager for the City of Cape Town must be in at number 2.

Because there’s not enough electricity to go around nationally, the City is obligated to cut its power to certain areas at certain times to reduce the strain on the overall system. There are timetables for that process, and we’ve been through this a lot before on here. And while the national “supplier”, Eskom, has different stages of loadshedding which apply to the rest of the country, Cape Town can use its pumped-storage facility at Steenbras to sometimes lessen the effect of the loadshedding for City customers.

Less so on the weekends, because you can’t just keep creating free energy. That’s not how physics works.

The City tries to provide up to two stages of load-shedding protection where feasible. At the high stages of load-shedding, it becomes more challenging. Over weekends, when the demand is lower, the City often sheds close to the same stage as Eskom to build reserves for the week ahead. It does the maintenance of the Steenbras plant too.

The City then announces or updates its plan via social media and then the people get angry at the City.

Usually, people get angry because they are inconvenienced by the loadshedding that the City has announced, somehow failing to realise that this loadshedding is often less, but perhaps more importantly NEVER WORSE, than for the rest of the country.

What I am saying is that it’s not the City’s fault, but they still get the blame.

And when these people aren’t inconvenienced, because of the City’s intervention?

The City getting a lot more blame this weekend because there’s a big rugby game (URC Final, Stormers v Munster) in Cape Town on Saturday evening, and there is (nationwide) loadshedding. For some reason, people who are going to be loadshod during the game seem to think it’s a personal vendetta by the City, and they’re not happy.

Wouter Swart doesn’t have a single friend whose house he might be able to watch the game at.
And that’s sad.

Ilse Engelbrecht says that she’s in the same boat, but then she gets called out by Lionel. He says that she’s lying, and reminds her that she’s invited round to their place. Looks like Ilse was going to be watching the final with Lionel and she was just after some internet attention.

Yes, Vanessa. Every single TV in Cape Town will be off. There won’t be anywhere with electricity in the whole of the Western Cape. No-one will have a clue what’s going on. As usual.

Come now, Babs. It’s not about tonight’s rugby match. It’s a longer term problem. I’m surprised that you haven’t been aware of it before. And… wait… in what way are the away fans being treated badly?
Surely anyone who has come over to SA for the match will… er… be at the match? Or do you really think that a) Loadshedding is an issue in the south of Ireland, and b) the City of Cape Town somehow has some control over that?

Are you quite mad, Babs Ryan?!?

I did a teeny, tiny bit of research and it seems that it’s actually Eskom that has instituted Stage 5 at 17:00. . And yet it’s CoCT that’s being spiteful?

Honestly, Ronel Cripps. Get real, man.

And then, this:

Always, as Elise Mayer Bouwer tell us, “on an weakrnd”.

Look, I used an AI-powered translation machine thing and it thinks (after quite some deliberation) that Elise is aghast that there is loadshedding on a weekend. Is that unusual? Well, let’s have look at how loadshedding has actually been spread across the days of the week this year, shall we?

Aaand… yes. It does seem that it is always on an weakrnd:


…and every single other day as well. Except – actually rather annoyingly – Tuesday 21st March.

So yes, technically, Elise is correct. But I don’t think that her assertion is particularly valuable. Narima is the one who has spotted the bigger pattern here:

And it was a strong start in her comment. That top line is 100% accurate.
But then back onto shooting the messenger in the second half. Muppet.

Look, I get that loadshedding is annoying. It annoys us all. But I can’t help but think that you’re barking up the wrong tree by taking potshots at the City in all of this mess. While they might not be perfect, you’d do well to understand that they’re not responsible for loadshedding. And maybe you need to take a look outside our comfortable little bubble and see what sort of a state the rest of the country is in, before you go wishing for some sort of change in local governance. Because I can assure you, it’s really not very pretty.

Seeing the light

We’ve been waiting for this day for a long while. And now it’s come very suddenly. At 2pm today, I got a call telling me that the solar installers are coming around tomorrow.

And they’re going to install some solar.

As regular readers of this blog will know, loadshedding is arguably the most dominant force in South Africa right now. It affects everything, and while we have no control over the things outside our home, we can at least do something about what’s going on in our house.

Not that we should have to. We already pay the government money to supply us with electricity. But then we also pay them for stuff like security and healthcare, and we still have to privately top those up to get any decent, viable service.

This system won’t take us completely off the grid. That would be desirable, but also outlandishly expensive (not that this is in any way cheap). But it will cut our bill by at least 80%. And it will mean that we’re able to live our lives with some degree of normality, and a bit more on our terms. Work will be easier. Food won’t spoil as quickly. No more last minute dashes for the kettle or the microwave. Expensive devices won’t break due to constant power cuts and surges. There will be sport on the big screen. The beagle will have a nightlight.

We’re still very lucky to be able to do this. And it’s weird that access to such a basic human right is a luxury.

I’m not going to be a solar wanker, claiming that my altruism is lessening the load on the rest of the country, nor am I ever, ever going to utter the phrase:

Yeah, we don’t even know when loadshedding is happening anymore.

But I am looking forward to our first session of loadshedding once our batteries are charged up, and there simply being… life as normal.

Whatever that means.