LOAD-SHEDDING

If you are not a South African, you will probably find it difficult to understand that the national power provider (Eskom) is not always able to provide sufficient power for the whole country’s needs and so they switch the power off! This has been going on for some years now: usually we are given some warning – we even get a schedule of the times during which we will have no power, although we cannot tell whether or not this is going to be implemented at stage one or two or three as the situation can change at any time. What makes it worse in our town is that so little maintenance is done here that when the wind blows strongly, branches fall across power lines or cables snap and the call goes out on the local WhatsApp groups “surely this isn’t load-shedding?” and the battle begins to get the municipal electricians to get on with the job of restoring the power.

Eskom has given us a respite for several months and then the dreaded load-shedding returned with a vengeance. On a typical day we could have no power from eleven in the morning until half past one in the afternoon and then again from seven until half past nine in the evening on the same day! Okay, there are days now and then when the power is off for only one session.

Last night our president was scheduled to address the nation at eight o’clock about changes to our lockdown conditions. The press had been buzzing with speculation about us getting more ‘breathing space’ in terms of restrictions being lifted. It happened to be a very cold night and I was ensconced under a blanket, had a cup of tea at the ready and was knitting as the scheduled time drew closer. Tick, tick, tick … at three minutes to eight the power went off!

“No guys, do we seriously have load-shedding now?” pinged the first message on the group – the country had been assured there would be no load-shedding over the weekend.

“Anyone else have a power failure right now?” So the messages pinged in, one after the other.

“The Fire Department [whom we contact after hours about such emergencies] says they don’t know what is wrong but the electrician will investigate.” There is some comfort in that.

“It’s a widespread outage, not load-shedding [various other suburbs are mentioned]”. Good, at least we are not the only ones.

I scrabbled around for a motley collection of candles so that I could resume my knitting. This is what they looked like shortly before the power was restored exactly an hour later.

So, we missed the president’s speech here and had to wait for news updates to learn that as from midnight tomorrow we will at last (since March) be able to enjoy family visits [not too often though, comes the official caution], and to purchase alcohol and tobacco products. Another positive sign is the opening of provincial borders as well as pubs and restaurants [the finer details of the latter two are still to be clarified]. It proved to be a dark hour with double light at the end: electricity and good news [or better than usual news] for a change!

19 thoughts on “LOAD-SHEDDING

    • The power outages are annoying, although it is surprising how quickly we adapt to them. We are usually more organised, however this particular one caught us off-guard.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I whined about being without power from Monday morning until Thursday afternoon (we were clobbered by a derecho storm, which we’d never heard of before, but did much more devastation in eastern Iowa). A friend from Bosnia mentioned that it was just like living there. I visited there in 2001 with a family who’d resettled in the Des Moines area. They’d just survived their own war, but the power was iffy, but so was phone even then. He said it’s still like that, compounded by Covid-19. (He wanted a copy of my book so I sent one. It’s been in quarantine ever since it got to Bosnia!)

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  2. And on top of that, our water supply is cut off at least once a week (in KZN – the province with the highest rainfall average in the country). When the water is off and we are in the midst of load-shedding, we can’t draw water from our tanks – we rely on electricity for the pumps. We live in interesting days 😁

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  3. I feel your pain! 😳
    Happily the news was good 😃
    Load shedding, though, is not going away any time soon😡.
    Knitting is good 👍 It has kept me sane during Lockdown 😆

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    • It certainly was bright news, Belinda. Then we experienced high winds yesterday and had a power outage that lasted from 11 am until 7.30 pm! The load shedding continues, but we should only have one session of two and a half hours much later this afternoon.

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