Nine things you need to know about electricity

In South Africa, electricity comes and goes: we call it load shedding.

That’s because Eskom, the state-owned power utility, is unable to generate enough electricity to meet demand, and so it “sheds” power over the course of a day, meaning scheduled power cuts for everyone in the country.

The economic impact is enormous, the personal irritation levels are high. All anyone can talk about is the (insert swearword here) load shedding, and ways to mitigate its effects on their lives.
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Loadshedding solutions for home office workers (that won’t break the bank)

A friend who lives in Melbourne, Australia complained on Facebook that he had been without electricity for several hours, in a curfew. His laptop died on him, and there he was in the dark with only his thoughts for company.

I smiled slightly but did not comment.

And recent news from Sydney that residents had been asked to conserve power in the evening as much as possible to avert blackouts prompted the same wry smile.

After all, there is no real joy in claiming the high ground on the question of being without power. All the tips I could give Australians are not really needed: sitting in the dark probably won’t happen to them again for months or even years.

Here in South Africa of course we all know what it is to be without power – that state of being for which we all grudgingly use the Eskom term: loadshedding. Continue reading