Loadshedding survivors' guide

in steempress •  8 months ago  (edited)

In March, South Africa, was on the brink of a national electricity blackout. And we are there again. Why? At the time, I said that the reasons are myriad and what one chooses to believe, also depends on to whom one listens. Now, it seems, we are getting closer to the truth: acknowledgement not just of the failure to follow through on routine maintenance, but also of the "success" of the project to systematically loot state owned enterprises through the project now known as "state capture". The Zondo Commission is unearthing hair raising facts. The Auditor General is doing the same and his staff are feeling the heat.

This is good news

In March, for the best past of two weeks, there was no power for between two to five, sometimes more, hours a day, and I noted that it was likely, that similar outages will happen again over the next few years. Well, it all began again last week and on Monday, the state-owned electricity utility went from stage 4 loadshedding to stage 6. Stage 2 means that in McGregor, we are without power for between 2,5 and 5 hours in a 24 hour period, scheduled in 2,5 hour slots. Stage 4 means that we are without power for 7,5 hours - also staggered. Stage 6, we had no idea. Suffice it to say that it was rather startling and the President has cut short a state visit to Egypt.

The March crisis was an act of God: Hurricane Idai, damaged power lines in Mocambique that supply electricity to South Africa. This time, it's also weather related: wet coal accompanied by heavier than normal rainfall and flooding.

In my original post on Steemit, I noted

The electricity crisis notwithstanding, I have long aspired to being self-sufficient and off the grid - as I explained in this interview, so at the first real opportunity, i.e. when we owned our own home, and had the money, we installed a solar geyser. The next step was converting from electricity to cooking with gas. In this instance, it was as much to do with the cooking experience as with the repeated electricity cuts - at cooking time.

In March, I developed a survivors' guide to loadshedding and I thought it worth sharing again. Now that I am beginning to recover my sense of humour. It's essential to survival:

Loadshedding survivors' guide

  1. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

  2. Pour a glass of wine.

  3. Download - if you get your electricity direct from Eskom, the app. Or the schedules from your municipality. Prior to this most recent rash, we had loadshedding in 2015. I uninstalled the app a week before it struck in March; I've kept it up to date since.

  1. Have a sip of wine.

  2. Keep your sense of humour.

  3. Pour a glass of wine

  4. Fish out the old Telkom phone that has a handset connected with a cord; ensure that your stock of candles, lighting implements (matches, lighters, etc.) and solar jars are charged and close at hand.

  1. Have a sip of wine.

  2. Check the schedule and plan your day(s) in anticipation of the scheduled outage.

  3. Check the wine stash.

  4. Invite friends over and braai - timed for when the lights are off.

  5. Pour more wine.

When it’s not practical (or sensible to have friends around and drink lots of wine):

  1. Cook by candles and solar jar (with wine).

  1. Clean: cupboards the you’ve not cleaned for a gazillion years; sort through the old clothes that you’ve not worn for a gazillion years - throw them out or sort them for a jumble sale, clothing swop or charity shop.

  2. Pour another glass of wine.

  3. Make sure all your devices are charged: assuming you’re using a laptop, and work for as long as you have juice. Uninterrupted without Facebook, WhtasApp, Discord - yes, you know who you are - and Instagram

  4. Get the next bottle of wine.

  5. Fish out and start working on the projects that you haven’t worked on because you’ve been distracted by the social media (your phone).

  1. Pour another glass of wine.

Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

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On Sunday we had friends over for a braai, and then the power went off. We were not to worried as we were braaiing, and my wife lit some candles and everything was quite nice and then after a long time, when I was starting to wonder why the power stayed off for so long, we realised there was no load shedding, the power just tripped at the trip switch!!

Hahaha! We've done something similar - we had run out!

Well you've definitely kept your sense of humor. ;) Though I would hope the wine stash is not too depleted after this past week....

Substitute vodka or beer for wine, and I would agree with this guide one thousand percent! LOL! Seriously, sorry to hear there are still ongoing power issues, but happy that it seems that there might be some sort of progress. Here's to keeping a sense of humor, no matter what life throws at you! 🥂

Ah yes, substitute "tipple of choice" for the wine any time! Here's to hoping things improve. We are back to stage 2 and to from 09h00 to 23h00. Means, effectively, we're spared today! Yay!

The President has announced "no loadshedding" between 16 December and 13 January - our summer holidays and peak season. Here's to hoping. Oh, and he's cancelled all leave at the utility. And, they say there was sabotage with all the other drama...

Anyhow, we were just saying how fortunate we are that we decided, when we moved, to go with a gas cooker and a solar water heating system. So, other than things like laptops, devices and watching TV, we're ok. Oh, and watering the garden, but that we The Husband can manage in between.

So, actually, besides the irritation factor, lots to be grateful for.

Stay warm!

A slightly belated, "thank you" for the warm thoughts, and a big HURRAY that you have things in hand, electricity or not. Sending lots of "no loadshedding" energy (HA! See what I did there?) your way!

Ha! @traciyork! You crack me up lol

Love this post @fionasfavourites, hate loadshedding! Wine will be added to my survival kit for sure;)
We really hardly ever had outages, were a tiny island with lights on all the time but they must have realised they forgot about us so only now do we know what it's all about! My next stove definitely will be gas and will also opt for a solar geyser, just have to find someone good with the latter as some people have issues with theirs.

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Glad to have made you smile, @lizelle. On the solar system: we've now had two. One in Cape Town and now here. The first had the flat solar panels and this one the tubes. IMO, the latter is the more efficient of the two - even heats the water when the weather is slightly overcast, so it even works a bit in winter. The longer the days,the better, though. Do your homework on both the system you choose and the installer. Fortunately in both instances we did it during the Eskom incentive programme and the provider had to have Eskom approval for us to get the rebate. Oh, the other option is to find out who the providers are that are used by your household insurer. We learned about the benefit of this when our geyser burst earlier this year.

Thank you for those tips, we had a geyser burst last year but were panicked as it happened on a public holiday and had a guest in the unit attached to the main house so did everything in haste:( That was so frustrating as the emergency plumber the insurance sent said they could not get a replacement geyser on a public holiday but when my husband offered to pay upfront and claim back from insurance, they suddenly found a replacement geyser!!! We were desperate as you can't inconvenience guests.
After that episode we took a drive down the coast to look at buying in a retirement village where they even come and change a light bulb if need be! They have solar geysers and rainwater tanks as well.
But we're still not ready for full retirement, will look at the solar options!

I totally love how you can live off the grid - well, as long as there is wine! Great post and it is so fun to read!

Hope it all gets better soon!


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I am hoping that real life will calm down to a panic and that I'll be able to resume "normal" crypto blogging programming soon. I'm long overdue for another #marketfriday contribution! Not to mention catching up on reading posts!

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