March 19, 2008
When Load-Shedding Plans Your Life
It's getting colder in Johannesburg. Which means people are turning on their heat and using more electricity. Which also means Eskom has started load-shedding again. The papers have printed the load-shedding "schedule." Unfortunately, Eskom doesn't always follow it, but either way it's really not good fun. For starters, vanity goes out the door when you quickly realize you will not be able to use your hair dyer in the mornings (not to mention the fact that you're freezing out of the shower anyway since there's no heat). But much worse, if you're in the areas that have load shedding from 6pm-10pm, you can't make dinner for your children, relax with TV, or really do anything except sit and stare at each other by candlelight. And let's not forget the issue of the electric gates. Two friends have already called this week locked out in search of something to do until the lights come back on.
Perhaps even worse than everyone's individual annoyances will be the economic impact. Three days a week our offices now have no electricity until 10am, two hours after office hours begin. (And we just happen to be located in the same area as all of the banks, law firms, major high end stores, etc.) On top of that, every time Eskom announces price hikes or load shedding the value of the rand plummets. I can't complain about the exchange rate, but there are certainly plenty of reasons for concern around South Africa's electricity issues.