Thursday, November 22, 2007

ESKOM: We're Learning

So we've had a few irritating periods of load shedding, followed by announcements to say that load shedding won't happen for several days. What does this mean? It means we're learning that if we DO SOMETHING, if we co-operate, if we get those messages that we once ignored on TV and get up and turn off a few lights etc., it can save us the bother of having everything going off for a few hours.

One of the nasty consequences, in Jozi in particular, of a blackout is that your perimeter fencing goes off; in other words your fortified prison no longer works. Sit in the dark, grab a knife, hold thumbs and pray it comes back on before the Tsotsi's find your house...

That's great. I hope though that we'll be able to maintain these habits, rather than have to endure a schoolyard system. What's a schoolyard system? It means behaving reasonably for a limited time, then misbehaving, being taught a lesson, and repeating the process about a gazillion times. It's not very nice because everyone suffers.

Hopefully, at this early stage, we will have learnt that in terms of wasting energy, (using) less is more (for all). There's one teeny tiny snag though. Let's say we collectively manage to cut down our consumption, thereby raising capacity, what also happens is that there will then be a semi-artificial situation created where additional users get added to the grid (because there's theoretically additional electricity available).

Think about it: the housing rollout in South Africa also includes the rollout of electricity en masse. Whatever we don't use, at the end of the day, is going to be used up by additional users. In the this sense our electrical feature in South Africa seems increasingly, well, dim. The roll out of Nuclear Power stations is at least 10 years away, and they will only come online if the costs of inflation don't go through the roof. That's also not guaranteed. But, I digress. I need to send off this email before the power goes out in the building (something that's happening more and more often eeek!)

Here's more:
Load shedding in Tshwane
Matric students (in Pakistan) blame results on blackout nights of study
Integrated load shedding schedule for Cape Town and the Western Cape
Eskom Load Shedding Schedule
What to expect and what you need to know about the current shortfall of electricity in the Western Cape

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