Blackouts likely as power stations close for repairs

I know, South Africa. We’re used to it now, aren’t we? Electricity shortages, load-shedding, blackouts.

Since the first issues reared their ugly rears back in 2008, it’s become almost second nature to us: now, even the briefest of power cuts is hollered from the rooftops as being a rolling blackout and another demonstration of just how badly our country is behind the rest of the world.
And now, this: the news that four power stations:

…which provide 10% of the country’s electricity, could be offline until the end of the year on safety fears [raising] further concerns about the chances of blackouts during the winter.

Only in South Africa, hey?

Except no. Because this is from a Sky News article about the UK. So let’s drop the exceptionalism and step away from the exceptionalism. Keep your hands where we can see them. etc etc

It’s not new, either. The UK has been warned about this for over a year now.

I’m well aware that two wrongs don’t make a right though, and I’m sure the 120 million odd individuals resident in the UK and SA would much rather have readily available electricity 24/7/365. But in a society where we are so anxious to draw attention to the negatives (and let’s be fair here, there are plenty of negatives to draw attention to), singling out SA as being the only country where the population has to contend with power shortages is plainly incorrect.

And yes, Eskom keep increasing our electricity prices, and that’s very, very annoying, but guess what’s happening elsewhere?

In the UK: Energy bills rise by 37% in 3 years.

In Germany:

Today an average family of four in Germany spends about $107 a month for electricity. This year, their monthly bill will be $129. The price hike is due to an increase in the Renewable Energy Surcharge. The surcharge is one of many government fees, taxes and subsidies that are passed on to average consumers and fund Germany’s renewable energy sector.

That’s a 20.6% increase.

And even in the USA: “We are now in an era of rising electricity prices,” said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

And as for the ludicrous sight of Eskom begging South Africans to use less electricity (cue: “What other organisation asks people to use less of its product?” remarks), well – most other electricity suppliers around the world, actually.
e.g.:

As temperatures plunged to 16 below zero in Chicago in early January and set record lows across the eastern U.S., electrical system managers implored the public to turn off stoves, dryers and even lights or risk blackouts.

We’re not alone. We’re not even vaguely special when it comes to not having enough electricity to go around – how about this for a headline?

New research warns world to prepare for blackout

That’s right – the whole wide world.

It’s time to drop the victim mentality and give up on the self pity. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, or if it is, it’s only because of all the extra s**t over there.

Eskom might not be a world leader in electricity supply and production, but neither, it seems, is anyone else.

UPDATE: And Belgium.