How a total power blackout in South Africa could happen

km2

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
1,211
One of the things I've noticed when talking to people about this is that they have don't have a working mental analogy of electricity to picture how a blackout would happen. I think most people think of electricity in the same way as water or gas, where you push a substance in one end and it then falls out the other end into your house where it gets used. And based on that, there's confusion as to how that could even be overloaded. Surely it's just would be like having temporarily lower water pressure or a weaker gas flame?

I'm still trying to get it right, but the closest I've got goes something like :

It's a giant invisible arm stretching across the country being moved back and forth by power stations in unison, and your appliances get to hang onto this moving arm, and by being a drag on it, they get to draw energy from it. But if too many things hang onto this arm, those power stations reach the point where they are too weak to maintain the tempo and they will disconnect themselves from the arm to protect themselves from breaking.

Likewise if you restart the grid, unlike with water or gas where you just start pouring in water or gas and let the flow resume, you have an entire countries worth of appliances hanging onto this unmoving dead arm. A single power station can't move it so you have to disconnect everything except a tiny portion that can be powered by one small plant, and then you restart the movement and the tempo, and progressively bring on more power plants (and load) that will join back onto the arm and move with the same tempo.

You don't "consume" electrons like you do with water or gas, you're there to attach yourself and use its movement that is carried through the grid.

That's my bad analogy. If you talk to other people about electricity and they bring up why anyone is worried about a blackout, how do you explain it to them?
 

zaozzie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2010
Messages
336
There are such severe consequences for even the inaction in our own lives that maybe it's a good thing that people to experience what happens when government screws up so next time they know what to hold government accountable for when they vote
 

Tpex

Teh Cyber Ninja
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Messages
18,177
2 to 3 weeks, surely things would get post-apocalyptic in that time..
 

HavocXphere

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
32,813
Question to the electrical pros: Why can't the add gear that automatically drops suburbs once voltage / freq departs from the baseline? I know some of the solar panels in Europe do this... They stop feeding into the grid if the frequency is too high.
 

Johnfpro

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
537
One of the most serious fall outs of this is that water does not get pumped to reservoirs for human consumption.
 

Easter Bunny

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
1,624
- total blackout.
- people become violently upset everywhere.
- anc says da was put in charge two days before blackout and anc warns that if they lose elections this could happen all the time.
- anc gains votes and increases winning margin.
- anc throws big, expensive parties to celebrate monthly anniversary of existence.
 

grok

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
23,082
“There are procedures and protocols in place to do a black start,” Yelland said. “This matter has been carefully thought out and procedures put in place.”

Yeah, like the procedures prevented you from screwing up Eskom's power supply in the first place to got us to this point.

Forgive me if I don't have faith in your ability to get it right even if you have the world's best procedures in place.
 

AthenianOwl

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Messages
8,897
SA would be economically ****ed up. With the useless leaders such as Zuuumaaa and Co in charge, it would take forever to restore SA to its former glory.
 

deweyzeph

Executive Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
8,304
Load shedding should be prioritised by how much an area actually pays for electricity. I.e. poor areas where residents steal electricity should be the first to be affected by load shedding and rich areas where residents always pay their bills on time and pay a premium for electricity should be the last to be affected.
 

AthenianOwl

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Messages
8,897
Load shedding should be prioritised by how much an area actually pays for electricity. I.e. poor areas where residents steal electricity should be the first to be affected by load shedding and rich areas where residents always pay their bills on time and pay a premium for electricity should be the last to be affected.

Most of the loyal ANC voters come from these poor areas.
 

Hemps

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,482
I have a solarwise pamphlet saying there only 13 days left to benefit from the Eskom rebate?
 

jetlee

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
786
I have a solarwise pamphlet saying there only 13 days left to benefit from the Eskom rebate?

I also got that, but think its only solar geysers and heat pumps .. not much else ... wish they would give a "get off the grid subsidy", 5 / 10k towards a 80k off grid cost, would tip the scales IMHO
 

bekdik

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 5, 2004
Messages
12,860
Why don't they just use this method and get infinite power? (I'm sure some of the chaps at Eksdom will try this!)




Why don't they just use this method and get infinite power? (I'm sure some of the chaps at Eksdom will try this!)

I guess the vacuum cleaner or even a broom was powered by this method?
 

P924

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
2,380
whats tha average price of a good solar geyser with the rebate?
The rebate is a myth. The AA requirements for a company to qualify to be a supplier that can offer the rebate means you end up paying more after the rebate than if you went with a company that does not offer the rebate. Thats apart from the fact that many of the systems on the rebate list will hardly save any money due to being improperly designed. Go with a supplier like ITS, or get a plumber to install a Kwikot system, or buy a solar geyser from china.
 

Dr Who

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
646
Here is a thought with all the Billions wasted on E-tolls surly the stretch of JHB highway could have been installed with those amazing solar cells that we have seen in youtube videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU

Then you throw in all the other cash wasted, makes you think does it not? Just imagine the success story that would be spoken.
 
Top