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The power of two hours

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No doubt Eskom’s woes and their battle to keep the lights on in South Africa have been the topic of many conversations. Many people still cannot wait for the opportunity to thoroughly trash the parastatal’s bad management. After all, how many providers do you know who encourage their clients to use less of their product and at the same time increase their prices?

Don’t get caught

Unexpected power cuts are more tolerable for households than businesses, but there will always be an occasion at home when the timing could not be worse. We all know what it feels like to be in the middle of cooking dinner, or not having saved that document for 30 minutes, or watching the last two minutes of that game. Chances are your washing machine would not know where to continue once the power comes back on.Washing

Eskom can strike at the most inconvenient time imaginable, but one must give them credit for introducing the dreaded “schedule”, which they mostly have stuck to surprisingly well.  With a bit of planning one can avoid the inconveniences of an average two-hour power cut.

Two hours have been added to your day

Despite the gloom, many of us who did not install an emergency power supply have experienced an unexpected positive outcome. Not only did we save a ton of money, considering the pricing of alternative power systems inflated by the sudden demand, but we were also given an extra two hours in our day. We came up with ways to spend those two hours. Uncooked food could not be rescued. The game would have to be watched in Catchup. The unsaved document will be recovered later – most software does that anyway these days.

So what did we do? Those of us who had a good view, could pour a gin and tonic and watch the sunset. Those who were not blessed with views could watch the moon from the backyard on a bright evening (and still enjoy a drink). Some of us just talked – it is amazing how quickly a chat can take up two hours. Today’s smartphones have surprisingly good loudspeakers and even better headphones. Some of us lay on the couch, listening to music. There is nothing like total darkness to properly enjoy that symphony or opera.

For those with kids, a clear evening might be a good time for some astronomy lessons. Teenagers would no doubt want to ensure their cellphones were charged up, as it would be a perfect time to catch up with friends on any of those social channels. With a little luck, those phones were quiet for a while once the power came back on.

The end of the tunnel

Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Eskom is shining a bright torch at the end, but whether it will remain lit and grow bigger as we move along, remains to be seen. At the moment they have the upper hand, but not well enough yet to handle the odd power plant breakdown or wet coal situation. We should hope that two hours of darkness is something of the past, but we should also remember that we all need two hours every now and then – whether spent in darkness or under a bright light – to take a breath or just to talk to each other.