Regular readers might know that we have a serious energy crisis in South Africa that is affecting everything from internet access to personal hygiene (no water, and the sewage is leaking onto the beaches…) during load shedding.
I found this wonderful little book last week and found the advice insightful. So I asked fellow South African, J.B. Meyer, to tell us more about the book and the issue(s) it covers.
Load Shedding: The What’s, Why’s and Doing Your Own Thing
Thanks for having me, Ronel.
For those of you not from South Africa, here’s a quick introduction to what load shedding is.
The polite definition of load shedding:
Load shedding is an energy utility’s [ESKOM] method of reducing demand on the energy generationhttps://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green/files/atoms/files/Load%20Shedding%20FAQ%202019_FINAL_2.pdf
system by temporarily switching off the distribution of energy to certain geographical areas.
Load shedding is only applied when the system has insufficient capacity to fulfil all energy
demands and is undertaken to optimally manage the energy that is still available in order to
maintain system stability. It is undertaken on a rotational basis to distribute the impacts.
Load shedding is a way to make sure that everyone in the country is without electricity for at least four hours a day – except if they’re in Government or related to someone in Government.How to Survive Load Shedding by J.B. Meyer
Why does this happen?
The party line:
The current bout of load shedding is related to inadequate national energy supply to meethttps://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green/files/atoms/files/Load%20Shedding%20FAQ%202019_FINAL_2.pdf
demand. This is mainly due to a large amount of unplanned maintenance required at Eskom’s
aging coal-fired power stations. In addition, the new energy generation units at Medupi and
Kusile have faced challenges in bringing the units online.
Because of theft, sabotage, embezzling, racism, and stupidity, our infrastructure to generate electricity is stuck in the 80s (with the lack of foresight for a huge population to boot).How to Survive Load Shedding by J.B. Meyer
And now ESKOM isn’t even announcing when it’s pushing us past level six (when we have power on for four hours, off for four hours, repeat). The local newspapers have uncovered that we have been experiencing levels 7 and 8 without any notice — or transparency from ESKOM. You can read more of this insanity here and here.
The reason I wrote this book, the last straw that made me take time to do this, was when a friend sent me a photo of the brazen cable theft near her home.
They used an excavator to dig up these power cables and steal them. And no-one did anything about it.
Here’s the message she and others received from their local munincipality:
“Morning all. There was a major cable theft again on X road early this morning also causing damage to a number of transformers which had caused the large area power outage. All responsible departments have been informed who will attend. I know this is very frustrating for everyone. This is not going to be a quick fix. Feedback will be communicated once the department have assessed the extend of the damage. Suggest you make alternative arrangements until power can be restored.”
When you’re at work and you get a message like this, what are you supposed to do? Ask a neighbour to place your frozen goods in their freezer? Not likely. They’re as far up the same stream without a paddle as you are.
But, if you have a generator, for instance, you would have already switched it on and plugged in your freezer when the power went out early that morning.
I look at different aspects of this mess and how the average person can make sure that when the pawpaw hits the fan, they aren’t left to make alternative arrangements.
From freezing water in bottles to keep in your fridge and freezer when the power is off, to solar panels, I look at it all and bust a couple of myths, too.
I didn’t put any photos in the book, as that would only make it more expensive. But I did make sure that when you are done reading this quick guide, you will walk away with more knowledge and confidence in beating back the darkness than you had before.
About the Book
Load shedding doesn’t have to leave you in the dark!
J.B. Meyer looks at the realities of living in South Africa in 2023 and how load shedding affects everything from personal hygiene to education.
He busts myths, shines a light on harsh reality, and offers hope in a time when Government fails everyone – especially the average South African.
Though this book might anger some – the truth usually does – it is time for South Africans to stop being in denial.
J.B. looks at the big picture to help people take action:
- What is load shedding?
- How load shedding impacts the economy.
- How load shedding impacts the individual.
- Order of triage.
- Minimal investment options.
- Taking it up a notch.
- Going for the long haul.
- And more!
We have a lovely saying in South Africa: ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan [A Boer makes a plan]. So stop waiting for Government to do something about this mess we’re in and start helping yourself.
About the Author
J.B. Meyer is a resident of Johannesburg, Gauteng, and has dealt with load shedding and other service delivery issues privately and in business for over a decade. As a small business owner, father, and home owner he personally knows the difficulties load shedding places on the average South African financially, physically and emotionally. He is gatvol for Government’s response of “make your own plan” when things go wrong and has decided to share his tips on navigating these troubled times without breaking the bank.
I like how the author took the time to explain everything in a manner that makes it easy to understand, even if you don’t hold a degree in electrical engineering. I also liked the no-nonsense attitude towards the real issues behind load shedding. The tips are practical, the math sound, and though I would have liked sources cited, a quick search on Google showed all the facts stated in this book were true. (For those who don’t know — from the blurb — a Boer is a farmer, usually a white South African man.)
A short book that packs a punch. Highly recommended to all South Africans.
Have you read this book? Do you have to deal with load shedding? Any questions for the author?
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