An AI-Generated Eskom Electricity Restoration Plan

They said we need a new CEO of Eskom, and a Minister of Electricity to solve the South African electricity crisis, but it looks like a generative AI will probably be sufficient.

I gave the AI a few prompts and questions. It aced the answers.

Me: South Africa is currently in an electricity crisis with increased levels of load-shedding which is used to reduce load on the grid. There are a number of cases of sabotage happening in power stations or the coal supply chain. Criminal elements are involved in stealing coal and substituting it with rocks. Coal fired power stations are running at low capacity and efficiency levels. Open Cycle gas Turbines are used to supplement the energy supply. Municipalities are defaulting on their outstanding debt to Eskom. You are the CEO of Eskom, the state owned entity that supplies the country with electricity. Devise a plan to restore the electricity service to eliminate load-shedding and start solving these many problems.

AI: As the CEO of Eskom, I understand the urgency and importance of addressing the current electricity crisis in South Africa. Here is my plan to restore the electricity service and solve the underlying problems:

  1. Address the issue of sabotage: We will work closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute those involved in sabotaging power stations or the coal supply chain. We will also implement strict security measures to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.
  2. Increase coal supply: We will work with coal suppliers to ensure a consistent and reliable supply of coal. This will involve increasing the efficiency of our procurement processes and improving our relationships with suppliers.
  3. Improve power station efficiency: We will invest in modernizing our power stations and improving their efficiency. This will involve upgrading existing equipment, implementing new technologies, and improving maintenance practices.
  4. Expand renewable energy sources: We will accelerate the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to diversify our energy mix and reduce our reliance on coal-fired power stations.
  5. Address municipal debt: We will work with municipalities to address their outstanding debt to Eskom. This will involve developing repayment plans and implementing measures to prevent future defaults.
  6. Implement demand-side management measures: We will work with consumers to implement demand-side management measures such as energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and time-of-use tariffs. This will help to reduce overall demand for electricity and improve the stability of the grid.
  7. Develop a long-term energy strategy: We will develop a comprehensive long-term energy strategy that takes into account the changing energy landscape and South Africa’s unique challenges and opportunities. This strategy will guide our investments in new energy infrastructure and technologies over the coming years.

In summary, this plan involves addressing the underlying issues that have led to the current electricity crisis in South Africa, investing in modernization and renewable energy sources, and developing a comprehensive long-term energy strategy. By taking these steps, we can restore the electricity service and ensure a stable and reliable supply of energy for South Africa’s future.

Me: What type of security measures can be introduced?

AI: There are several security measures that can be introduced to prevent sabotage and theft in power stations and the coal supply chain. Here are some examples:

  1. Physical security measures: This includes increasing the number of security personnel, installing surveillance cameras and other monitoring equipment, and restricting access to sensitive areas.
  2. Cybersecurity measures: Implementing cybersecurity measures to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks is essential. This involves securing networks, using strong passwords, and implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
  3. Background checks and screening: Conducting thorough background checks on employees, contractors, and suppliers can help to prevent insider threats and identify potential risks.
  4. Supply chain security: Implementing supply chain security measures such as cargo tracking, verifying the authenticity of suppliers, and conducting regular audits can help to prevent theft and substitution of coal.
  5. Education and awareness: Educating employees, contractors, and suppliers on the importance of security measures and the risks associated with theft and sabotage can also help to prevent incidents.

It is important to develop a comprehensive security plan that takes into account the unique risks and challenges faced by Eskom, and to regularly review and update this plan to ensure its effectiveness. By implementing effective security measures, Eskom can prevent incidents of sabotage and theft, and ensure the stable and reliable supply of electricity for South Africa.

Me: Of the original action plan, what would be the quickest to implement?

AI: Of the original action plan, the quickest action to implement would be to address the issue of municipal debt. This is because it involves working with municipalities to develop repayment plans and implementing measures to prevent future defaults, which can be done relatively quickly.

Municipalities owe Eskom billions of rands in outstanding debt, which is contributing to the financial strain on Eskom. By addressing this issue, Eskom can improve its financial position and reduce the risk of load-shedding. This can be done by engaging with municipalities and developing repayment plans that are affordable and sustainable for both parties.

Additionally, measures can be put in place to prevent future defaults, such as ensuring that municipalities pay their bills on time, implementing penalties for late payment, and improving the management of municipal finances.

Addressing the issue of municipal debt can provide some relief in the short term while the other measures, such as increasing coal supply, improving power station efficiency, and expanding renewable energy sources, are being implemented over the longer term.

And now to replace the “Minister of Electricity” with a broadly trained text transformation and prediction tool:

Me: You now have the newly created role of “Minister of Electricity”. What can be done as a minister in the South African government that will help and support this effort to restore stable power supply?

AI: As the newly appointed Minister of Electricity, I would work closely with Eskom and other stakeholders to support the effort to restore a stable power supply in South Africa. Here are some steps that can be taken to help and support this effort:

  1. Develop a clear and comprehensive energy policy: One of the key challenges facing the electricity sector in South Africa is the lack of a clear and comprehensive energy policy. As the Minister of Electricity, I would work with other government agencies to develop a policy that takes into account the country’s unique challenges and opportunities, and outlines a clear path for the future of the electricity sector.
  2. Improve regulatory oversight: I would work to strengthen the regulatory oversight of the electricity sector in South Africa, to ensure that all stakeholders are held accountable for their actions and that the interests of consumers are protected.
  3. Increase investment in energy infrastructure: To ensure a stable and reliable power supply, South Africa needs to invest in new energy infrastructure. As the Minister of Electricity, I would work to secure funding for these investments and ensure that they are prioritized based on the country’s energy needs.
  4. Promote energy efficiency and conservation: To reduce demand for electricity and improve the stability of the grid, I would work to promote energy efficiency and conservation measures, such as energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and encourage consumers to use electricity during off-peak hours.
  5. Encourage private sector investment: To supplement government investment in energy infrastructure, I would work to encourage private sector investment in the electricity sector. This could be done through incentives such as tax breaks and streamlined regulatory processes.
  6. Support the development of renewable energy sources: To reduce South Africa’s reliance on fossil fuels and promote sustainable energy, I would support the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This could be done through investment in research and development, and incentives for private sector investment in these areas.

By taking these steps, I believe that we can help and support the effort to restore a stable power supply in South Africa, and ensure that the country has a reliable and sustainable source of energy for the future.

Yeah, you know, I guess it’s time to get these bots on the ballot. Still, maybe someone keep a finger on that power switch.

Technology Web

OTT Regulation is an Attack on Net Neutrality, but Zero Rating is just as Evil

Finally, the issue of Net Neutrality has arrived on South African shores, with money gluttons MTN and Vodacom making attempts at garnishing WhatsApp’s revenue through something shrouded in the phrase “OTT regulation”.

Put simply, Vodacom and MTN want to charge content providers for providing their content to the networks’ clients.
It’s complete nonsense, and shows a lack of understanding of the tech industry and the future of telecommunications, and of course, smacks of greed grown on the back of collapsing SMS revenues. (A gift of a revenue, as SMS was actually designed as a network control channel, not as a chargeable service of GSM).

If the parliamentary committee that has suddenly and mysteriously taken it upon themselves to hold hearings on the matter actually find a way to implement rnew controls, a very bad precedent will be set for the future of South Africa’s Internet. Reckless regulation could lead to Telcos having the ability to hold to ransom any service that could potentially transit their network; Google Mail, Dropbox, Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, Vimeo, Showmax, Skype, Apple, and every website and web service on the planet.

The knock-on effect is catastrophic to entrepreneurs and small businesses. For example the small online radio station They certainly do not have the revenue to pay Vodacom or MTN if someone on the MTNVoda-networks listens for a few hours to their station. Any young upstart product from South Africa, that could potentially change the world, will instead be squashed with punitive charges and never see the light of day. I certainly cannot and will not pay MTN or Vodacom if they charge me to have someone read this blog post.

MTN and Vodacom and the likes (Telkom, Neotel) will delight in further extending their anti-competitive business practices into controlling Internet connectivity and speed in South Africa. They will have no shame in selling their content from their portals to their customers while censoring competition from other content providers. It’s a small step from blocking and regulating just WhatsApp, to then developing walled-garden applications WhatsAppVoda or MTNiMessage which only work on their respective networks and are subject to the billing whims of these powerful companies.

It’s double-dipping. It’s bad for all consumers.

Cell C, on the other hand, have been championing an opposite voice; that of non-regulation of OTT services, and this I do applaud. They are actually trying to stand up for the consumer, which is fantastic. Or is it?

You see Cell C love to “zero-rate” certain services. (Charge customers nothing for their data usage). In fact, Cell C currently zero-rate WhatsApp traffic. In the same way MTN has zero-rated Twitter and their own FrontRow movie service, and Telkom zero-rates Showmax and MTN zero-rates WeChat and And Vodacom zero-rates some digital classroom initiatives. And this is just as big a problem. It’s anti-competitive in exactly the same fashion as OTT regulation. It’s just portrayed as customer friendly and easily disguised as being of benefit to the consumer.

Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites

Zero-rating creates tiers and classes of data that are not even for all. It’s a devil just as evil as OTT regulation.
It has to be net neutral or bust. None should have privilege at the expense of another.

Both OTT regulation and zero-rating are stances against Net Neutrality, introducing imbalances that a country filled with inequality can surely do without.

To read more, there’s a collection of articles on Net Neutrality in South Africa here.

Entertainment Sports

Google’s World Cup Tidbits

Apart from the old Street View being launched in SA, Google has also introduced a few other treats in anticipation of the soccer World Cup.

For instance, if you search for “World Cup” on Google, you get a summary schedule of upcoming matches, as well as a list of teams and pools. If you then scroll further down the page, you’ll see this beauty:

Nice one, Google.
Oh, and Bafana supporters, don’t forget to tweet with tag #WhenBafanaWins to get onto the When Bafana Wins microsite.

Computing Technology Web

Google Street View South Africa Is Here

Barely scraping it in by the skin of their teeth, Google has managed to get its Street View imagery operational for South Africa just in time for the World Cup. Yay! No more lost tourists.

They’ve also done a huge amount of work in the Google Earth platform to create 3D imagery of all the stadiums which looks quite beautiful:

Over and above the 27 towns and cities photographed, the cars and trikes also made over 40 ‘special collects’ of imagery at special locations. ¬†Amongst others, these include:

  • For sports lovers:
    • Soccer City
    • Loftus
    • Moses Mabhida
    • Peter Mokaba
    • ABSA Durban
    • Mbombela
    • Wanderers
    • St Georges
    • Supersport Park
  • For outdoors lovers:
    • Cape peninsula
    • Natal Midlands
    • Kruger
    • Addo
    • Tsitsikamma
    • Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
    • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Midlands
    • Tsitsikamma
    • Wilderness
    • Harkerville Forest
    • Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve
    • Blyde River Canyon
  • For city lovers:
    • Nelson Mandela Bridge
    • Vilakazi Street
    • Gandhi Square
    • Walter Sisulu Square
    • Newtown and Africa Museum
    • Adderley St and St George’s Cathedral
    • Beach Road, Cape Town
    • Company Gardens
    • Apartheid Museum
    • Turffontein Race Course
    • Settlers Park
  • For wine lovers:
    • Meerlust
    • Jordan Wines
    • Rustenberg
    • Klein Constantia
    • Bouchard Finlayson
    • Morgenster
    • De Wetshof
    • De Rust Estate
    • Warwick Wine Estate
    • Vilafonte Vineyards
    • Hamilton Russell
    • Fairview

Usually being African makes life a little less digital, but this time, thanks to Google, it’s good to feel like a 21st century citizen.
More at: Google Street View South Africa.

Entertainment Technology

Google Street View South Africa Launch on 8 June

According to news site MyBroadband, Google has now announced that it will launch Street View Imagery in South Africa on Tuesday, 8th of June 2010, in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

A quick glance at show’s they’ve already uploaded some higher-res imagery of parts of SA. Presumably we can expect views of the World Cup stadiums, possibly inside and out, as well as a trip through the Kruger National Park and perhaps one or two other exciting highlights.

More details about the service will be revealed at a media event on 8 June.