City Power slates EskomSePush

City Power has criticised the EskomSePush app, saying that the application, and similar apps, only create confusion for its customers.

This is despite EskomSePush being invaluable for people trying to keep track of Eskom’s constantly changing load-shedding stages these past few weeks.

Eskom’s load-shedding schedule has grown complicated and can change so quickly that it has become difficult for people to stay on top of.

The schedule has become so complex that Eskom started publishing timetables with its load-shedding updates.

For example, Sunday’s load-shedding schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday, 10 July 2022, 00:00–07:00 — Stage 2
  • Sunday, 10 July 2022, 07:00–16:00 — Stage 3
  • Sunday, 10 July 2022, 16:00–00:00 — Stage 4

In a statement posted on Twitter, the City of Johannesburg’s power utility said that the EskomSePush app isn’t updated to reflect changes City Power makes to the load-shedding schedule and urged Joburg residents to instead rely on its communication.

“City Power has been noting with concern our customers who are relying on external online applications for the load-shedding schedule and information,” its statement reads.

“There is a lot of misinformation on external apps, including EskomSePush, among others, who do nothing but create confusion for customers.”

“We therefore would like to encourage customers to use [the] City Power website and City Power Twitter account @CitypowerJHB, for the information on load-shedding schedules and blocks affected,” City Power added.

City Power claimed that EskomSePush users are sometimes directed to the wrong blocks, therefore receiving the incorrect schedule.

“The app is not updated, for example, when City Power has changed the load-shedding blocks for different operational reasons, including when we backfeed customers using a different feeder board,” it added.

The power utility highlighted two examples of misinformation on the app.

It specified that Lyndenhurst appears in load block 9 but said the area does not exist in the City of Johannesburg.

It added that the suburb Lyndhurst is also listed in load block 9 but rather forms part of block 4.

EskomSePush responded by thanking the utility for highlighting the issues, adding that it was “super willing to work together”.

Co-founder of EskomSePush Herman Maritz told MyBroadband that it had not received any feedback from City Power regarding its request to work together, adding that it was unfortunate that the utility shared a public memo rather than reaching out.

“We definitely do not want to put CityPower in a bad light. Loadshedding is stressful for everyone in South Africa, especially municipal power utilities, but it’s really unfortunate that they put out a memo instead of just reaching out,” Maritz told MyBroadband.

“Our assumption is that many customers are frustrated with some of the inconsistencies in the schedules and electricity outages that occur outside of the load-shedding schedule —  unfortunately EskomSePush gets blamed for creating the confusion.”

EskomSePush founders Maritz and Dan Wells launched the initial app in 2015 after using PushBullet notifications to notify themselves, and their friends and families when Eskom would cut power.

“We sat in a lot of conference calls talking about ‘push notifications’ and how these messages can be used to send users banking updates,” said Maritz.

“Some of these meetings had folks with Afrikaans accents, and the word ‘Push’ always made our day.”

“The name was definitely inspired by some of those banking folks. But simply put, it’s Push Notifications for Eskom. EskomSePush,” he added.

The app hit a milestone of over 2 million users in February 2021, with its use boosted by multiple bouts of load-shedding being implemented at the time.

In January 2022, Maritz revealed that he had quit his full-time job to focus on developing EskomSePush for six months.

In June, he announced that they extended his tenure at EskomSePush by another six months.

Now read: Eskom to increase load-shedding on Sunday — here’s the new schedule

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City Power slates EskomSePush