December 2018 Cape Town Loadshedding Links

Like a poor sequel, loadshedding (you may remember it from such terms as “Rolling Blackouts”) has returned, and once again, we are regularly being plunged into darkness.

Being plunged into darkness is never good at the best of times, but if you don’t know that it’s coming, it can be particularly irritating. So, best that you know when it’s coming then, and we’re here to help.

The good news for those of us in Cape Town is that some degree of loadshedding is often mitigated by our spare generation capacity (the hydroelectric unit up at Steenbras).

If you’re going to work out when and how much you’re going to be loadshod, you need a few bits of information. First off, you need to know whether you are supplied by the City or by Eskom and you need to know what stage loadshedding we are on.

To see what stage the local loadshedding is on, check this page.

To check for who your supplier is, look at the map here.

If you’re not in one of the cheerfully coloured areas, you’re an Eskom customer, and you should go here to view the appropriate schedules.

If you are in one of the cheerfully coloured areas, look at which one and then head here to see when you’re going to be cut off.

And that’s it. Loadshedding isn’t an exact science, so no promises made as to what might actually happen on the ground at the time, but this is as good a guideline as you’re going to get.

Loadshedding should last for about 2½ hours a pop. If it goes on much longer than that something has gone wrong (or it wasn’t loadshedding in the first place – other electrical problems are also possible), talk to the City on 0860 103 089 or Eskom on 086 00 37566.

Or do some online shouty stuff:

Don’t forget to not tell them where you live. That’s always helps.

Other useful links:
City twitter
Eskom twitter
Khulu Phasiwe twitter – Eskom spokesperson – DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER.

Loadshedded Dodgeball

Once again, I am court-side at the trampoline park. There’s no blaring music though, because the electricity has just gone down. This was fully expected, but the lady sitting next to me has gone to complain anyway,  as if the guys here can do anything about the failed state-owned enterprise which supplies (or doesn’t supply) the power here.

No lights here either then, but there’s enough sunlight filtering through the translucent windows to make the Dodgeball Academy session slightly more difficult and quite a bit more dangerous.

The coffee machine isn’t working, of course.

I may not survive.

Cape Town Loadshedding 2018

I would really rather not be writing this one.

Yep. Loadshedding is back. Not wet coal or no coal or breakdowns or corruption this time. This is strike action, although some believe it should be called something entirely different:

Because yes, this electricity shortage is because the workers aren’t happy about not getting a pay rise this year. But whatever terminology you wish to use, it’s the everyday people of the country that will suffer.

Which brings me to my next point: if you are in Cape Town, when might you be likely to suffer?

Here’s the information you need, in handy PDF form.

To work out when you might expect the lights to go out. And the TV, during the World Cup. Or the rugby, you smarmy egg-chasers. Yeah, that grin disappeared pretty quickly, didn’t it?

Using the schedule isn’t exactly rocket surgery. Use the map to find the numbered area in which you live or work (or intend to watch the sport), then match the date on the timetable below to see when you can expect the misery of a rolling blackout.

If you’re outside any of the gaily coloured areas on the map, then you need to go to the Eskom website to get your schedule.

June loadshedding rumours aren’t true

Eskom has let us know that the message spreading on social media (basically Facebook), that there will be twice daily routine loadshedding from next week, isn’t true:

e1 e2 e3

Several keyboard warriors individuals replied to these tweets with swearing and insults, the combination of which cut the nation’s power usage by 10% and assisted hugely with hastening the completion of the Medupi Power Station, thus negating the need for any loadshedding whatsoever.

Jokes. It didn’t really. Angrily typing some crap on your keyboard and sending it to a public relations lady sitting at a keyboard somewhere else doesn’t actually save electricity or speed up infrastructure provision.

But do keep trying, won’t you? It’s such fun to watch.

Short

A quick post about our current predicaments:

There’s not enough electricity to go around. This is actually very old news, although South Africans continue to complain about it while doing nothing to save the damn stuff when they have it. It’s clear that generally, despite their lack of action to combat the problem, people are very unhappy about it.

The alternative, of course, is gas. We don’t have it plumbed to our houses here in SA like some other countries I’ve lived in, so it comes in big bottles. Well, it would if there wasn’t a shortage of it:

Dear Customers,
As you may have heard through the media, LP gas is currently in short supply in South Africa as a result of planned maintenance on a few of the major refineries in the country.
Please take the time to read the attached letter regarding the LP gas supply issues we are currently experiencing.

I’ll spare you the attached letter, which basically says there’s a shortage of gas, resulting in “unavoidable price increases”. Supply and demand etc etc. People are not going to be happy.

Anecdotally (hey, it works for Prof Tim), there’s also a shortage of diesel in Cape Town. My car doesn’t run on diesel. Mrs 6000’s car does run on diesel – when she can find some to put in it. Same with lorries delivering food and goods all over the country. Less diesel, higher demand, higher prices (although they are somewhat regulated in SA) = unhappy people.

And now, arguably the most serious of all, we have a shortage of water. Figures due to be released this morning will almost certainly indicate that the reservoirs supplying Cape Town are now less than half full. That’s not good, but ironically, it’s less than half the problem as well. The bigger issue is that it’s also not raining on the local farms:

A drought that has probably reduced South Africa’s corn crop for 2015 to the smallest in eight years is also putting at least half the country’s wheat harvest at risk, the largest grain farmers’ lobby said.
Farms in the Western Cape have had little or no rain since the start of the planting season in April and need showers before the end of May, Andries Theron, vice chairman of Grain SA, told reporters Thursday at an agricultural show in Bothaville.

The province, whose wheat fields are rain-fed, produces about 50% of the nation’s harvest of the cereal, data from the Grain Information Service show.
“We started planting in dry soil,” he said. “Usually, our rainy season would start in the middle of April, but it didn’t. We’ve got a hectic season on hand.”

And then this, from Agri Wes-Cape’s CEO Carl Opperman:

“This has been the driest summer the province has seen in many years. Rains that should have already fallen are desperately needed, especially by grain farmers.
“It’s a dry circle that we’ve got at the moment. We will be managing it, so we’re expecting rain in the future. It’s most probably going to be what we call ‘a dry winter'”.

Come now, Carl – drop the technical terminology, can’t you? You’re unnecessarily baffling us with bullshit there. Is there really no language you could have used so that us laypersons could understand?

Looking at the forecast for the coming week, our local grain farmers are going to remain disappointed.

And so… guess what? Less grain supply, no reduction in demand = higher prices. And that means unhappy people.

I’ve never been convinced that a single straw could break a camel’s back. But several big fat straws? Well, maybe we’re in for interesting times ahead.