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.

No recharge available

We forgot to charge the beagle before this afternoon’s loadshedding.

DSC_0002_11_opt111

There’s not much we can do about it now until the power returns, but hopefully this will serve as a warning to other beagle owners in South Africa to not make the same silly mistake.

And no, I’m not going to tell you where the plug goes.

#ChargeYourBeagle

Cape Town – Useful loadshedding information sources

After I wrote this shocked (pun intended) piece about the shocking (pun intended) reaction to the loadshedding this week, and with the thought of a LoadsheddingBalls series still not completely discounted, I thought that the individuals involved might actually just need some help.

See, the information on loadshedding is out there. It’s just about knowing where to look. And with a situation that is constantly changing, social media is perfect for keeping up with the latest updates. This is a Cape Town-leaning list, and that’s for two reasons: firstly, the authorities in Cape Town are generally very good at sharing information on loadshedding, and secondly, I live in Cape Town, so I’ve found the best ways for me to keep up to date.

On Twitter:

The big cheese. Eskom themselves: @Eskom_SA. Love them or hate them (I know, I know), this is the twitter account that will tell you what is going on with loadshedding nationally.

The other big cheese. Helen Zille: @HelenZille. Love her or hate her… oh whatever, and yes, there’s a lot of other noise on this account, but HZ does often relay a useful synopsis for the day, e.g.:

Warning: may also contain politically volatile batshittery.

City of Cape Town official twitter accounts: @CityofCT and @CityofCTAlerts. These are regularly updated with information on loadshedding: what stage we’re on, which zones are due to be shod next and so on. They will also be my primary source for LoadsheddingBalls, because of the fantastic replies they generate.

There are other loadshedding accounts that have popped up, but I’ve found that they’re not always hugely reliable.

On Facebook:

The City of Cape Town official Facebook account is just a mirror of their twitter account. But it’s very good at keeping you up to date with the latest loadshedding news.

On the internet generally:

For loadshedding schedules and maps, you need look no further than this very site:

Until end January 2015
From February 1st 2015

and tie them in with the latest stage in the red box here.

For Eskom supplied areas, you need their official loadshedding page.

Now you know what I know. Forewarned is forearmed.