Somerset West, South Africa


We all know electricity is known as one of the basic human needs. It plays a very important role in each and every sector of business. Without it human life is unthinkable. In the absence of electricity, most of the work is performed during hours where electricity is available or additional power supplies (like generators) are used at a very high cost.
In South Africa, load shedding is rapidly increasing from the first time it happened in 2006. It affects different fields like the business sector, housing, in technology and tools, the industrial sectors, the educational sectors and so on. It increases unemployment because if factories, industries, and other service providing fields, dependent upon electrical power collapse, then the people or labors will face great problems to fulfill the basic needs of the country like food, shelter, and clothing. That is why load shedding has to be eradicated in any way possible.  But for now, load shedding seems like it is here to stay, and we have to find ways to work around this very dangerous and negative factor to our economy.

It is everyone’s responsibility to use electricity wisely:

All industries, big and small, can make it their mission to use electrical beneficial appliances.  Make use of lights in offices, houses, factories, everywhere that use less electricity over a longer period. Come up with ways to use tools, machinery, the technology that needs less electricity but can work at the same rate and efficiency as before. Teach children from an early age how to save electricity and switch off lights, TV`s, appliances etc, when not in use.  This characteristic will follow through in the adult hood if the foundation is laid at an early age.  Yes, it is because of mismanagement, fraud, misconduct and every negative word in the book that describes South Africa’s current service provider for electricity, but while all of this was happening, we decided to turn the blind eye and not make use of alternatives renewable energy such as sun power, hydroelectricity and saving where we can. Now we need to make good of a very bad situation, and stay productive as much as we can.  How will this be possible?  

Stay one step ahead of the situation:

Although Eskom is not supplying power 100% of the time, they have managed to come up with technological ways which will help you to stay one step ahead of load shedding. Thousands of websites and apps are available to keep you in the loop.  I personally love the EskomSePush application.  You get real-time information on when load-shedding in your area will start, stop, what stage and which hours.  Not once did this application leave me in the dark.  As a business owner, I always need to know when those few “off” hours will be.  The following practical ways helped me to stay “on” when the lights were off:

  • Keep your phone and laptop on charge before load shedding, then you can still get some work done during a power outage.
  • If you need internet, hotspot your phone, or get a portable dongle which can give you connectivity if needed.
  • Or find the nearest internet café which does not share your load shedding schedule for those urgent emails and projects.
  • Save up and invest in extra solar panels, solar lighting, and if you can, solar panel power packs, to get you totally of the power grid. The initial investment will be a big cost, but in the long run, you will save.  Studies showed that you can start saving on electricity from year 7 when totally of the grid.  And if you are a homeowner, 7 years fly quickly.
  • Big Factories and industries struggle with downtime during these hours, and generators are not sufficient to keep production going. Stay on top of load shedding schedules and work your staff schedules around those hours, maybe let them have lunch, shifts or workforce to complete work during off times.  It is always advisable to talk with your employees during this time to explain how these power cuts affect the business.  They need to understand how their attitude can help save jobs.
  • Have car charges for phones and laptops.
  • Try to work out how much electricity you use per month, and see where you can save. This will not only help the power supply but will also save you a few bucks.


What does load shedding means and why is it better than nothing:

Load shedding is a very big inconvenience.  But load shedding is always the better option than a national power blackout.  A national power cut will plunge the whole of South Africa into darkness. Meaning Hospitals would close, trains would not run and airports would shut down. Police and fire stations would be unable to function properly. Banks would be unable to operate. Cell phone towers would run out of power within hours so even if you had a charged handset, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to make calls. After a while, some water reservoirs would start running dry because there would be no power to pump water into them. Sewage systems would be hit as well; fuel pipelines (and eventually your car’s tank) would run dry. The chances of this are very remote, but still there.  Plainly put, power cuts are a form of short-term pain that needs to be endured to prevent long-term disaster.


All of us can become angry at the politicians, Eskom and all the other factors plunging South Africa into darkness, but at the end, it is your and my responsibility to save energy as much as we can.  Not only electricity but also water.  We should maybe phone up grandma and grandpa and hear how they did it back in the day. Maybe start cooking on the fire, instead of a stove, now does that not sound romantic for the colder days ahead?



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