Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “electricity”

Independent Democrats question high electricity prices

clipped from www.thetimes.co.za

South Africans are paying four times more than some foreign countries for electricity, the Independent Democrats said yesterday.

Lance Greyling, spokesman on energy, said the ID wanted answers from Eskom over the increase in electricity exports to neighbouring countries during South Africa’s ongoing power crisis.

Greyling said he had sent questions for written reply to Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin.

Greyling said Eskom must also explain why there had been a 22 percent decrease in electricity imports.

He said Eskom exported electricity at 11 cents per kilowatt hour, which was a quarter of the rate South Africans pay.

In his questions to the minister, Greyling said the ID wanted to know the reasons behind South Africa’s exports to neighbouring countries being increased by a reported 6.1percent in the first three months of this year, and on what basis decisions were made to increase the export of electricity.

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As shortages of things like electricity, oil and even food grow, so will conflicts of interest.

Ideally, southern Africa should try to produce its own electricity for the whole subcontinent. As supplies of coal and other fossil fuels dwindle, there will be increasing reliance on hydroelectricity from the Zambezi and the Congo — but countries along those rivers will want to serve themselves first, and sell the surplus to others — while there is a surplus.

So which route to go — cooperation in the subcontinent, or autarky?

The typewriter is dead: long live the typewriter

Somewhere at the back of a cupboard is an Olympia typewriter I bought more than 30 years ago. With the electricity supply being as erratic as it is, perhaps I’d better get it out and dust it off.

Maybe others will be doing the same in offices around the country.

However, it was always predicted that the mechanical typewriters would outlive electric and electronic typewriters (both of which went out of circulation with the advent of printers).

Even in this age of supercomputers, 12,000 typewriters are being manufactured and sold annually.
Its obituary was written a couple of years ago, and you will generally find the old ones being used in police stations, courts, government offices, or being put up for sale on eBay.
Yet, in this age of computers and supercomputers, 12,000 typewriters are still being manufactured and sold annually in India.
Godrej — one of the only two manufacturers left in the world (the other being Olympia), and the sole manufacturer of typewriters in India — expects manual typewriters to live for another 3-5 years before they fade into history.
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Electricity not being exported, says Eskom

Eskom says that electricity is not being exported to neighbouring countries when there is no surplus.

But isn’t it a bit late for President Thabo Mbeki to be meeting with Eskom management to ascertain the extent of the problem? According to Cosatu, it was President Thabo Mbeki himself who opposed Eskom’s plans to expand its generating capacity.

clipped from www.iol.co.za
Eskom has stopped supplying electricity to neighbouring countries amid the dire shortage in South Africa, it said on Sunday.
The power company only sold electricity when it had a surplus, said spokesperson Sipho Neke.

Of the electricity generated by Eskom, 95 percent is used locally. The rest is exported to Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The country’s electricity crisis was debated at length during the African National Congress’s three-day meeting, which closed in Midrand on Sunday, said the party’s secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

President Thabo Mbeki will meet this week with Eskom management to ascertain the extent of the problem and the company’s remedial plans.

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Interfaith environmental conference

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I’ve spent the last couple of days at a meeting of the management board of SAFCEI — the South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute. Our Archbishop Seraphim (seen here with Anglican Bishop Geoff Davies, the Executive Director of the Institute) has been a member of the SAFCEI board since its inception, and invited the board to meet at St Cosmas and St Damian Orthodox Church in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.

You can read more about what happened at the conference itself in my LiveJournal.

But one of the things that became clear at the conference was the eagerness with which Canadians were destroying the environment. There are plenty of countries that have been pointed out as villains in the world, but Canada has not usually been among them. But the evidence has started piling up.

I had known for some time that Canadians seemed to have some strange ideas. They have had trolley buses in western towns like Vancouver, and that seems to be a good environment-friendly means of public transport, running it on locally-generated renewable hydro-electric power. But now they seem to want to run their buses on diesel fuel — a non-renewable fossil fuel, most likely imported from the Middle East.

That’s just odd, and anyway I’m prejudiced in favour of trolley buses.

But now, it appears, the Canadians are intending to bring aluminium ore here to South Africa, and refine it here using heavily-subsidised electricity generated in coal-fired plants, and export the ingots. So our electricity bills are inflated to make Canadian companies rich, our cities have to endure acid rain to make Canadian companies rich, and our non-renewable fossil fuels are being depleted to make Canadian companies rich.

And Canada is, apparently, one of the biggest pushers of genetically-modified foods.

That makes Canada a bigger threat to our life-support system than Al-Quaeda. Bush and Blair, move aside. Your villany has been superseded.

Now I’ll have to Google to find out who the Prime Minister of Canada is.

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