carine hartman 2021

By Carine Hartman

Chief sub-editor

I’m giving Eskom and their sneaky sun-tax the finger

Let there be light... I’m harvesting glorious sunshine for free.

Forgive me if I look a bit like a bergie nowadays. That’s because I am – and will fit right in sleeping in the cold and dark on the slopes of Table Mountain.

God knows I really try to tame my wild hair every day and am slightly fed-up with my Portuguese baths.

But I scoff at experts telling me I will always need suck-me-dry Eskom “because nobody can really go completely off-grid”.

Really? You’re wrong. I know: I’ve been completely off-grid for about four months now.

ALSO READ: Load shedding: A step-by-step plan for ditching Eskom and going off grid

Surprise, surprise – the Wi-Fi is going, the laptops are charging, the cellphones never run out and the odd light bulb glows brightly every night.

Two biggish solar panels, six gel batteries, an even bigger inverter – my even biggest expense – and a thingymajig to control it all and voila!

Let there be light… I’m harvesting glorious sunshine for free, giving Eskom and their sneaky sun-tax the finger.

Colleagues complain about load shedding; power banks not charging… This family?

During your darkest hours, we proudly make a TikTok video panning first to the dark street, then our “crystal palace”.

Long story short, the City of Joburg has no sympathy with a wild-haired grey widow and her billing mess.

“We will investigate and come back to you in August,” we heard in June. So we made a plan. And don’t believe the experts throwing around figures of “at least R100 000”.

READ MORE: Load shedding relief: Mantashe given renewable energy ultimatum

I’m a journo with many mouths to feed and a car to fill, so pennies are scarce.

I stretched those over four months, lapping on bits and pieces to my “patchwork” system for the grand total of R8,000.

That “patchwork” system leaves my handy son in wonder: “It’s a thing of beauty,” he says as if he is seeing my mom’s heirloom quilt.

“So modular. You can just add and add…”

Yes, we are eyeing two massive new panels and two even more massive batteries for double that money “one day, one day”.

But here’s the catch: I have no hot water and flatly refuse to heat a bath in an old 200l geyser over a fire like my friend did when they cut her power last week.

So, this month I think I’ll throw some pennies towards a little gas geyser. Only thing is, I ran out of gas tonight.

NOW READ: First load shedding and fuel hikes, now Eskom wants 32.66% tariff bid – Nersa to consult