#SoCS – Power

Power makes the world go around. You don’t realise how integral it is to our modern lives until it is taken away. South Africa’s power utility is struggling to keep up with the demand for power. This is due to various reasons which can’t be addressed in the short term. Three times during the course of 2019, South Africans experienced periods of what is called load shedding for two to three weeks during which the power utility cut off the power to different areas on a rotational basis.

This power problem has existed, in varying degrees for over ten years and has become progressively worse. In December 2019, just before the factories and businesses closed for the Christmas break, we experienced the worst load shedding to date with the power going off for four to six hour intervals twice during a day. The intervening periods when power was available were to short for the back up batteries that power the cell phone towers, WiFi providers and other such services to recharge so for a few days the cell phones were only working intermittently and the WiFi was so slow and unreliable it couldn’t support services like Skype. It was a rather frightening time as it makes you feel as if your life is falling apart when the services you rely on are not there when you need them for work and other purposes.

We are hoping that the necessary maintenance and other steps necessary to keep our businesses and mines operational will have been taken over the past few weeks and the next few months will be good ones.

This is a poem I wrote during our Southern hemisphere winter about the load shedding:

In the dark

 The sun’s sliding downward in the West,

The cold a most unwelcome guest,

When its time to put on heaters and lights,

That’s when load shedding really bites.


Life is tough at the best of times,

Bitter sweet, a bit like limes,

It stretches most people to the hilt,

Without extra things to make life tilt.


It’s difficult, trying to get things done,

Cooking in the dark is not much fun,

It’s even worse getting kids to study,

Any excuse to stop and chat to a buddy.


We should feel blessed that we have gas and a genie,

Although this costs a pretty penny,

We are better off than the rest,

Of the situation we should make the best.


So why then do I feel so bad,

Sitting in a traffic jam makes me mad,

When I lie in the dark at night,

Every noise gives me a fright.


Maybe the oversees pastures really are greener,

Even if our life may be a bit leaner,

At least the lights will reliably work,

And lack of power won’t drive me berserk.

By Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Written for Linda G Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ow.” Find a word that contains “ow” or use it as a word in your post. Have fun!

You can join in here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/03/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2020-daily-prompt-jan-4th/

41 thoughts on “#SoCS – Power

  1. I can imagine the frustration. We were without power for one long stretch, several years ago. You really don’t realize how much it matters until it isn’t available. I hope they figure this out soon.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That is a terrible situation that you have eloquently expressed Roberta. Having been their hour pier following the many hurricane s that pass through Florida I can attest that it makes for a lot of misery.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Doesn’t sound fun. A generator is always handy, one that connects to the gas lines, but can’t help the cell service. I hope they have it straightened out so you don’t have too many more days like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank Trent, we have a diesel powered generator. They are expensive to run but there is very little piped gas here. We have a gas oven and stove but we buy bottled gas for that. It is the impact on business and the economy that is most concerning and it effects the poor the most.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have experienced power loss for up to seven days after hurricanes. Feeling cutoff from the world is hard, but even then we were fortunate as this was weather related and not because the utilities could not handle the load. I hope things improve for you. It sounds very trying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Maggie. The power loss post hurricanes is awful as everything is in chaos and I am sure medical assistance is needed then. The big concern here is that the power cuts are on-going and impact business and the economy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like to think we would cope with power breaks if we knew they were coming and could plan around them, but it’s not that simple, especially if the WiFi is down! We had a power cut in town once and the shops had to close because the tills couldn’t work and of course many work places dependent on computers were stuck.

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  6. We had planned power shutdowns for the first time that I can ever remember this year in California during the height of the wildfires. I’m guilty of being in the mass of people who take electricity for granted. It’s even kind of glamorous or romantic to be without power for a few hours, but then reality sets in. How did the early pioneers manage when I can’t go half a day before I go crazy?😎

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Pete, the pioneers had a life that was set up to be lived without electricity. That is very different from our lives where we are not self sufficient in any way, relying on everything like food and fuel to be brought into the cities in refrigerated trucks from farms that use irrigation and machinery for everything. I re-read The day of the triffids recently, by John Wyndham and that was a good reminder of how quickly a city can fail with out mod cons.

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  7. My brother has the same thing in California because of the fires. Our power companies have not kept up with all the changes in the world. And we are so dependent on it. (k)

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    1. Hi Kerfe, I know about the issues in California and parts of Australia are having the same problem. The power issues are escalated by the fact we have not moved to greener power, but this is not something individuals like us can do much about.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t like when we lose power either for fire danger, Robbie. It’s nice you have the gas and generator, though, although expensive, I agree. It does make one appreciate having power though and normal. Hope that issue is resolved for you soon! Great poem.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. We take power for granted so much that we don’t realise how integral it is in our lives. I fear this will become more of an issue with the onslaught of electric cars, buses, planes, and now cruise ships! That’s a huge drain on an already overloaded grid.
    Hope things level out soon {{hugs}}

    Liked by 2 people

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