March 2nd, 2006 at 3:41 pm by james

We’ve been having sporadic power cuts in Cape Town all week. Word from East London is to expect up to nine hours without power every second day. Factories have been warned that they may need to close one or two days a week. The impact on the economy must be outrageous. Cape Town is keeping the Waterfront (premier tourist spot) lit to try to minimise the impact on tourism …

Today’s papers suggest that key senior nuclear engineers have left, leaving something of a skills gap. I suspect the engineers who designed and maintained the entire grid left some time ago, leaving something of a skills gap. When you allow your entire grid to become heavily reliant on a single nuke and then someone drops a bolt into one of its two reactors and the other is due for routine maintenance you probably don’t have competent people making the decisions. Either way you’re in trouble. Unless you’re in the butane supply business.

Today’s outage has gone like clockwork – the paper said 2pm to 5pm and the clock in the kitchen must be exactly two minutes slow. If they can manage the crisis that well for the next eight months I’ll be impressed.

The elections went off well yesterday though I haven’t heard any results yet. I watched five minutes of possibly the worst election programming ever on SABC last night. Ever. There was no continuity and the person selecting the shots needed training and quite possibly medication. When I got to the point of screaming “Switch! Switch!” when they were using the wrong camera we flicked over to watch the last day of Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round. Elections are stressful enough without incompetent broadcasters.

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