It was at the beginning of December when we were first warned of the possibilities of ‘loadshedding’ on receipt of a notification from ESKOM (Electricity Supply Commission also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie). In an effort to control demand and eke out the existing supply we (along with the rest of the country) would be subject to power cuts for a varying number of hours each day – this would take place over a number of months. Obviously, this was going to affect our guest house operation, but to what extent?
We are fortunate that our water supply is not reliant on electricity but is either gravity fed or solar pumped. Our hot water systems throughout are also operated on solar panels. We cook on gas – mostly – but other elements in the kitchen (fridges and freezers, coffee machines etc) are reliant on electricity. Our laundry machines – washers, driers and ironing machines are all electric. On the farm our olive press is electric and of course it is getting near to olive picking time!!
The decision was made without too much hesitation if we need to have a constant supply then we must buy a generator so that we can operate when the mainline power is down. So, by mid-December our new 60KVA generator arrived and was connected up. We then learnt from ESKOM that there would be no need for power shedding at the moment and that it would probably start after Christmas.
Were we too hasty? Our brand-new generator sitting there waiting and no hint of loadshedding – until today!!! Now we think that our decision was the correct one and our guests will hopefully not be so inconvenienced – although we feel that everyone should be aware that there are power issues in South Africa, and all efforts should be made to restrict usage and conserve power whenever possible.