We all have become experts in dealing with loadshedding and its schedules and with the new Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, the faint hope was that he will bring order into the energy dilemma. But the Minister is too busy counting his ill-gotten gains and has no interest in fixing any problem, power is all that this “revered” NEC member is interested in and we have to pay the price yet again!
Loadshedding is back with a vengeance as it has now become totally erratic, schedules are on and then suspended, no planning, no warnings, just patching up what is needed. But in combination with the amended Alert Level and the prevailing practice of home offices, loadshedding is hitting the public and the economy now even harder.
While plenty of businesses have over the years of ESKOM’s failure not endured loadshedding, they have also prepared and counter-acted the dire consequences to their business by installing and providing a variety of back-up solutions, ranging all the way from a simple UPS to complete PV Solar Systems. But where once an UPS powered the WiFi and the Notebooks of a multitude of employees, this UPS is now deserted and those employees are sitting at home in the dark as no company provides individual power back-up solutions for home offices and hardly any employee can afford those either.
Secondly, the loadshedding schedules took into account areas with a high density of businesses and shifted the daily power-switcheroo more to residential areas in order to keep the businesses juiced up for longer. That is now not possible anymore (not that any of the ESKOM Clowns even thought about it) as the employees are widely distributed between high and low income residential areas, formal and informal settlements. So while the majority of businesses remain dark but have power, the employees’ majority remains dark but because they have no power. A traditional “eskomesque” Lose-Lose-Situation.
As ESKOM management is still busy preparing calculations for the next bonus payout, the country suffers and battles, cannot plan and just awaits the next home-blackout schedule that is usually announced one minute before loadshedding is reactivated.
Here a refresher what the loadshedding stages mean, as – besides the Western Cape that enjoys Level 1 loadshedding only – for the rest of the country the prevailing loadshedding is at stage 2: ESKOM states clearly:
“Load shedding will be implemented in most instances in 2 hour blocks. However, in Eskom-supplied Johannesburg areas, blocks are 4 hours long. Each of the time periods has an additional 30 minutes added to allow for switching of networks in a way that will not damage the power system. … Most customers (those in 2 hour blocks) may therefore be without electricity for up to 2.5 hours at a time, while customers in 4 hour blocks may be without electricity for up to 4.5 hours at a time. (Ergo:) Stage 2 will double the frequency of Stage 1, which means you will be scheduled for load shedding 6 times over a four day period for two hours (plus 30 minutes) at a time, or 6 times over an eight day period for four hours (plus 30 minutes) at a time”
That means 15 hours no power within a 4 day period of 7 hours of work a day (28 hours) which translates to over 50% (!!) Who is the Minister kidding? How does he think this is acceptable? I think not only those in Home Office will accept his immediate resignation with gratitude, if only ….!