Load shedding in South Africa

Here in South Africa we get our electricity from one source know as Eskom, which has in the last month has been load shedding. The last time this happened was in 2008 and was sorted out in few months, we then have had 5 years free of this load shedding until November 2014.

What is Load shedding?
It is a last resort to balance electricity supply and demand, when there is not enough electricity available to meet the demand from all customers on the electricity grid. It then becomes necessary to interrupt supply to certain areas. This becomes an effective way to avoid total collapse of the electricity supply grid (a national black-out) which will have disastrous outcomes for South Africa.

If unbalances on the power is not managed this could lead to the risk of collapse of the entire power network. If this occurs, it could take more than a week to restore power to the entire country. By rotating and shedding the load in a planned and controlled manner, the system remains stable.

How does this affect us?
Well it means we have to plan our day around what is called a Load shedding Schedule as we have been explained by Eskom that this could be around for the next year or three. So load shedding can has 3 schedules (Stage 1, 2 and 3) that depends on the possibility of risk of what they have available for the grid to use around South Africa.

Stage 1 allows for up to 1000 MW of the national load to be shed. (Electricity will possible go off 1)
Stage 2 allows for up to 2000 MW of the national load to be shed. (Electricity will possible go off 1-2)
Stage 3 allows for up to 4000 MW of the national load to be shed. (Electricity will possible go off 2-3)

The Load shedding will be implemented in most instances in 2 hour blocks (with an additional 30 minutes for switching between blocks) during the period 05:00 to 21:30. You therefore may be without electricity for 2,5 hours

To find out what the schedule is? You can go to:
EWN news site – Highly recommended work great on mobile
City of Cape Town on Twitter – Highly recommended
– Eskom Load shedding site – Official site
Eskom SA on Twitter
Eskom on Facebook

What to do when there is no electricity?
– Enjoy the dark with candles and no TV.
– Play Board games.
– Read a paper book.
– Go to another suburb for Breakfast, lunch or dinner.
– Watch the downloaded movie on your charged tablet or laptop.
– Plan a date with friends who are going to have electricity.
– Take a walk or do some unplanned exercise.
– Enjoy the caveman moment!
No matter what you do, be careful if you are driving through an area that is having load shedding as usually the traffic lights are not working. Don’t forget when the traffic lights stop working the intersection turns into a 4-way stop street, so stop and let the car that has arrived first go before you do!

Let this not stop you from visiting South Africa, we all still carrying on with some complaining. But we have to accept this and carry on living which is not impossible yet.

Article on load shedding:
– The good and the bad.
– Zapiro cartoon: Load Shedding Problems in South Africa