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Load shedding getting you down? These top apps will help you plug into the ever-changing schedules

Never get caught off-guard again when load shedding strikes. We take a look at the best load shedding apps on the market. Picture by Ehteshamul Haque Adit/UnSplash

Never get caught off-guard again when load shedding strikes. We take a look at the best load shedding apps on the market. Picture by Ehteshamul Haque Adit/UnSplash

Published May 16, 2022

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BY JAMES BROWNING

With no end in sight for load shedding, and with stage changes happening suddenly and irregularly, it has become essential to plug in to the ever-changing schedule somehow.

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While you can always check out your municipal schedule on the official Eskom outages page, load shedding apps have become ubiquitous for many South Africans that don’t want to always have an ear on a news channel or be constantly re-checking area schedules.

Let’s compare the top load shedding apps from the Play Store and see what’s on offer.

EskomSePush

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Initially released all the way back in 2015, this app has been keeping us informed of impending darkness for a while now. The app boasts a 4.6 star user rating and is ranked as the most popular free app in the ‘productivity’ category.

Alongside the standard ability to search for your area, you can also give the app permission to see your location and it can provide you with a list of areas which are popular with other people nearby you. This can be very useful as it can at times be very unclear which area you fall into or even what the name of the specific grid area would be.

EskomSePush also includes a community chat feature using the same location data, where people can post messages to which nearby neighbours can reply. This is usually used to clarify and report unscheduled outages.

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The app also provides an ‘Insights’ tab which displays a feed from their twitter account. It’s nice if you’d like some statistics or graphs about load shedding, but mostly unnecessary.

Like most of these apps, EskomSePush includes ads which appear on the app home screen. These are unobtrusive, especially considering usual mobile ad tactics. In general the app user interface is pretty, rounded and colourful.

EskomSePush is a great choice for a load shedding app. The only small quibble would be that you can’t customise the optional notifications for just before outage session – they happen 55 minutes before or not at all. Hardly a deal-breaker.

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Load Shedding Notifier:

Also released back in 2015, Load Shedding Notifier sports the same 4.6 star user rating and sits at rank number six for free tools on the Play Store.

The app comes with both standard search and location-based suggestions. It lacks the statistics breakdowns and community chat feature of EskomSePush, though these functions will be the least important to the average user.

The app also includes a simple advertisement box at the bottom of the screen which is hardly noticeable. The user interface is slightly less cheerful and comfortable than EskomSePush, but nothing to write home about.

On the plus side, it does allow you to configure your notifications and set them up to go off at any amount of time before an outage. It also lets you set custom notification sounds in the app, rather than fiddling with that through your phone’s settings. All things considered, Load Shedding Notifier works just as well as EskomSePush and your decision will come down to which extra features you prefer.

WhatsUp Eskom

The WhatsUp Eskom app released in 2020 and has a user rating of 3.8 stars. The app doesn’t have a location-based area suggestion feature, though it does allow you to scroll through a list of all grid areas in a city, which can be more useful than regular search when you don’t know the names of the nearby grid areas.

Like the other apps it also has a small ad box on the home screen. One nice quality of this app is the user interface, which is quite modern and condensed, giving you all the relevant information and forecasting on the home screen. It also lets you customise your notifcations, though not to the extent that Load Shedding Notifier lets you.

Whatsup Eskom works just fine, but it doesn’t bring anything to the table that other apps do not.

City of Cape Town

For those in power grid areas serviced by the City of Cape Town, this app is a decent choice. It makes finding and selecting the right grid area incredibly easy. It provides a visual map of the entire greater Cape Town area where you can tap on your geographical area and it will automatically select the appropriate grid. If you allow it to use your location data, it will also show you exactly where you are on the map.

The City of Cape Town app doesn’t allow you to do any notification customisation, you can simply choose whether it does or does not put up notifications when the load shedding status changes. It is however free of any advertisements. The app also comes with a feature for reporting faults as well as the ability to overlay prepaid electricity purchase points onto the map. It even tells you which stores are open and when!

Overall the app does its job, but it mostly offers an easier way to find your area, and obviously only for those in Cape Town.

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