All my South African readers will know exactly what I am talking about when I mention loadshedding. It has been a reality in our country for a number of months and previously in 2008. It will be with us for the foreseeable future as well. If you google loadshedding, this is what you will see:
action to reduce the load on something, especially the interruption of an electricity supply to avoid excessive load on the generating plant.
It sure is a pain in the butt. I don’t want to complain about it though. Sure, it is super annoying. It is, however, well organized. We have different loadshedding schedules which vary depending on the strain on supply and the demand for electricity. Schedule 1 is the least severe, then we also have Schedule 2, 3A and 3B which is the most severe. The power is off for 2.5 hours at a time. On Schedule 1 your power will be off once a day, but on subsequent schedules it may be off up to 3 times a day. We are mostly on Schedule 1 and 2 though. Having no electricity sucks, but if you are informed and you know when to expect to have no power, you can plan accordingly.
We only have one electricity provider in our country. No competition. They have not been maintaining our power stations well or building new ones to make provision for downtime/maintenance/increased demand. I am no authority on the matter and I don’t want to pretend I know how to fix the problem, I don’t. All I know is that there is a lot of covering up and mismanagement going on within the company and the nation is suffering the consequences. One thing that does piss me off is that they have been hiking our electricity prices astronomically in the past few years, while literally begging us not to use their product because they can’t supply it reliably. It is currently summer and I am worried about the demand in winter where we have less daylight and where hot showers are the order of the day for those who have access to them.
There are definitely productive things you can do while the power is off. I like to spend time with the children, shower, bath the kids or even wash dishes (which I would otherwise probably not have done, I don’t love to wash dishes). If it is light enough I could read (not that I do anyway). There are worse things than not having electricity for a few hours. We are healthy. We are not hungry. We have a roof over our heads. We love each other. I couldn’t ask for more.
Loadshedding is not however just impacting on my personal comfort and luxury. It is also impacting our economy. We were at a place of business looking at items to purchase when the power went off. We could not pay with our cards as the computer and card machine would not work. We went next door to a bakery, they could not assist us with card purchases either. We got into the car and drove to a local fast food place, the drive through closed for business while the electricity is off. That’s 2.5 hours that a slew of businesses could not trade at full capacity. Who carries cash nowadays? Certainly not me. This is having a ripple effect on our economy and hurting investor confidence in our country…which is just bad news for us.
When speaking to my Belgian friend about this, he was not unfamiliar with loadshedding. They had had this in Belgium too! I was surprised. I thought this kind of problem was unique to our country. It’s not. I bet a lot of people don’t know that. Even “first world” European countries have these kinds of issues. Maybe not for as long as we will likely have them, but it is not unheard of. I just hope that someone can jump in and help our energy provider to have an action plan for the future, to prevent a total system meltdown, which would be catastrophic.
These are just a few of my thoughts on our current situation. If/when you have no electricity, what do you do to keep busy?
I had already finished writing this post when I came across this news article. I will suck it up and not rant and bitch about it, because *I* cannot change the situation. I just really wish someone would DO something about it!
Then, this article came to light and I started to panic a little.
Although when I wrote this post I didn’t want to bitch about it, it is getting a bit hard to be optimistic and to just suck it up.