The day before yesterday, City Power in Joburg announced that it was changing the way it will be notifying customers that they need to reduce the amount of power consumed in their homes or face loadshedding. Basically, if you have a smart meter City Power will still turn the power on and off to warn you of imminent disruptions in service, it’ll just do it more slowly.

Ostensibly, the reason is that people complained they didn’t have enough time to turn things off in the 30 second power bursts, but this doesn’t make sense to us. The warnings lasted for five minutes in total, not 30 seconds, and changing the duration of the warning to three minutes off, three minutes doesn’t change that much.

Now, we’d be second guessing City Power if we said we thought there was another reason for the change, and we won’t do that. Suffice to say we’ve always thought turning mains power on and off repeatedly is a really bad idea because while it grabs your attention, it’s also a sure-fire way of damaging any sensitive electronics plugged into the main.

Which made us think: in the office here we all have stories about the costs of loadshedding. From increased commute times because the robots are out to burglar alarm batteries giving up because they aren’t designed to be run to empty every single day. The prices add up, but as far as we know no-one has quantified – yet – what households are spending to directly mitigate or fix the effects of loadshedding.

Oh, and according to the latest reports, it’s here for at least another 18 months.

Hence this form below. It’s a quick straw poll survey of htxt.africa readers asking exactly that. Something to fill in over the long weekend and share with your friends. We won’t pretend it’s representative or a comprehensive snapshot of the country, but we are curious about how hard loadshedding is hurting the people most important to us: you.

So fill it in, let us know and we’ll be keeping a running tally of answers which we’ll let you know about next week. And don’t worry, we aren’t collecting any personally identifiable data here either, nor will we sell anything on.

[Image – CC Yusmar Yahaya]
Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.