The concept of loadshedding is foreign to many if not most in a non-emerging world country. In South Africa, it seems to be accepted as normal. When we were exploring what living in SA would be like our research made loadshedding seem like ancient history. Surprise, it’s back.
Loadshedding in SA is the method that the local electric utility (ESKOM) employs to decrease demand on the grid but shutting out power in a rolling black-out across the entire country in an effort to prevent total grid failure. Sounds exciting, right?
So you may be wondering how does a nation that gets what feels like 365 days of sun, has ample wind and access to fossil fuels hit a situation where they need to implement rolling blackouts nationwide. I wondered the same thing until I drove past a few electrical substations. To my admittedly untrained eye, these things looked like they were built using 1950s hardware. Then news broke that ESKOM was running out of coal. That was in turn shortly followed by news that a 600-page report had been filed that detailed corruption at ESKOM and Transnet ( a transportation entity). The utility itself has blamed planned and unplanned maintenance to correct faults as the cause.
But it’s not all bad news. Our water restriction has been lowered to stage 3. Which means we can use up to 100 liters of water a day. So while we may not have a reliable electrical grid, but we have ample water.