Tue, 19 Nov 2019

A dummy's guide to load shedding

16 Oct 2019, 23:43 GMT+10

News that Eskom had instituted stage 2 load shedding on Wednesday - at short notice - had South Africans scrambling to find the latest power cut schedules for their municipalities and cross-referencing tiny block codes denoting suburbs with tables containing times when electricity would be out.

Despite South Africa experiencing intermittent power outages for over ten years, government has still not designed a national search function where South African can easily enter their town or suburb and find out when they will be without power.

The private sector has since stepped in, and usage of the popular app Eskom se Push - which sends you localised load shedding alerts - has exploded. Earlier this year, it had 400 000 active users.

To understand how and why the load shedding system works the way it does, some background is needed.

Let's say you live in Rosebank, Johannesburg. As a City Power Johannesburg customer, you know that you will have to consult your municipality for your schedule.

You go to City Power's website and you find that there are links to 16 PDFs named 1A to 8B. These are the lists of which suburbs fall within which load shedding block. You find that Rosebank is in block 1A.

Next, you hunt down the load shedding table, which City Power calls its 'operating schedule' (municipalities may have different names for this).

You then check the day of the month, the time and the load shedding stage. You'll find that, on Wednesday, October 16, you will be load shed between 20:00 and 00:30 if stage 2 load shedding remains in place. Easy.

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