Load shedding. Say, whaaat?

Load shedding. Sounds like a big word. Like something from an engineering book you are unlikely to understand. But in simple laymen’s words it is: blackout. No electricity. Electricity company sheds the load off of the electricity grid. And how do they do that? It’s very simple – they shut off electricity to parts of the city. Such is life in Nepal. You know that talk about the right to basic infrastructure that’s often given in the West? Yeah, you can forget about that in Nepal. Here, the first thing you ought to do is buy some candles. Always, always have candles in the house. And matches. Or a lighter. Otherwise candles really don’t make any sense, now do they? Notice that candles will be your last resort when other lights fail to light-up your world. After that, stock up your house with a whole bunch of light-producing devices, either electrically charged or run by batteries. Always keep them charged. Keep your cellphone charged. Given it has a flash-light. If it doesn’t, buy a new cellphone that does. Your house should also have a big battery, popularly referred to as the inverter. This bad boy gets charged when there is electricity, and then happily provides you light when the electricity company decides to shed the load in your neighbourhood. Useful little things. Sometimes there is so much load shedding during the day that the inverter doesn’t get a chance to charge fully and dies on you just as you shampooed your hair and soaped your body. As you scramble for water and towel in the dark, think about installing solar panels on the roof, or a diesel generator. I’d never go for the generator as it is ruining the environment tremendously and adding to already unbelievable amount of pollution in Kathmandu. Be green, people.

Setting the mood in Nepali households since ... forever

Setting the mood in Nepali households since … forever

Maybe you’re wondering how I live my life without electricity. Or maybe you’re not wondering about it at all. I’ll tell you anyways.

First and foremost, I take many a romantic shower. Yes, I shower in the candlelight almost every night. And it would be romantic if it wasn’t a bit sad, actually. Also, not a good time to shave legs. I savour every minute at work. There is a generator that keeps the heat from the AC running, that charges my cellphone and powers the router for WiFi. Work seems like heaven. I read a lot. Also, I stare in the wall a lot. And play Candy Crush. There is nothing else to do when there is no light at home. At some point I give up and go to bed embarrassingly early, like 8:30 pm. I’ve learned to walk around the house in the dark. I feel like I am turning in a cat. You know, because they can see really well in the dark.

Sometimes I stay up really late just to plug in my laptop to charge when the electricity comes. When I say really late, I mean like 11pm. What? In Nepal, that’s really late. Sometimes I choose to live life without modern technologies. Until the weekend that is, when I am at home and can charge devices whenever the electricity comes. You see, this is the thing. Most of the time the electricity is gone in the morning, when you would reasonably want to wash your hair and dry it, or maybe make a toast. Then it comes back when you’re at work. Once you’re back from work the electricity is gone again. No reheating your dinner in the microwave, but hey, you get to be all romantic in the bathroom. So really, unless your office has a generator, you pretty much spend the whole day without electricity. As daunting as it may sound, it’s actually not that bad. One somehow gets used to it fairly quickly. Or maybe I’m just saying it to make myself feel better.

23 thoughts on “Load shedding. Say, whaaat?

  1. I heard that it is 14 hours a day now. That is one thing I am not looking forward when I am there. Even though we have inventor we can’t still do things when there is no electricity. It is a shame that with so much resources , Nepal can’t use it and stop load shedding.

    • Well, you know how things are in Nepal – everything takes time. There are some really good things being done, and some really great ideas, but it takes so long to execute and implement.
      Currently, there is 12-13 hours a day load shedding. Once you get used to it, it doesn’t seem that bad, especially with a good inverter.

  2. hahahaa I know, I can understand you soooo much. I remember me. last year there we had 16 hours per day no electricity? I think ist the same now………sometimes I made a wake up call in the night for working in Internet ( router)…….time will go better. PS: after 5 weeks I will come to nepal. Jipiii

    • Oh yes, currently I think it’s 12-13 hours a day, but I am sure it will go up. It’s a little crazy living without electricity, but one gets used to it. Luckily, our router is hooked up to the inverter so we have the Internet all the time. I am so grateful for that.
      You’re travelling to Nepal? That’s awesome! Have a safe trip. I hope you’re not taking Turkish Airlines!?

    • Oh no, there is a schedule. Most of the time they adhere to it, but lately it seems like they increased the hours without changing the schedule. Electricity is gone most of the day.

  3. Hi. I’m glad you’re getting used to the schedule. That’s the best attitude to have! I’m lucky in that we have a generator here on the hospital campus where we live. I know it’s not green, but what can we do? They need it for the operating rooms and the intensive care units! Anyway, I’m selfishly happy with it.
    One time one of my students said, “When I get home today, I’m going straight to bed.” “Oh,” I asked, “are you feeling sick?” “Oh no!” he said. “Tonight our electricity is coming on at midnight, and my mom told my brother and me that if we went to bed as soon as we came home, we could get up at midnight and watch TV!” (smile)

    • Hi! I just read in The Himalayan Times today that starting on Sunday, Feb. 9, the power outages will be longer. Make sure everything is powered up and take care! For what it’s worth, they have a power schedule. Have a nice weekend!

  4. we are now familiar with the situation and its common for us, its called adjustment we have to adjust and can do no more than that, just enjoy the loadshedding hahhahah

    • Ah yes, I’m quite familiar with it by now as well. still, it’s never easy to accept it. though I do believe I am adjusting pretty well. however, lack of water is a bit harder to adjust to 🙂

  5. Sounds like you’ve really learned to love the loadshedding! Well, okay, maybe love is the wrong word… but adapt, at least. Kudos to you. I lived in Bangladesh for a couple of years, and the load-shedding there was terrible too – always during the mornings or evenings when everyone’s at home and it’s dark and you really want to use your lights. I love those rechargeable torches and all those other gizmos we who live in areas of constant power have never even dreamed of. But have you ever tried a wind up torch? Little word of advice. Do not be fooled. You’d have to wind forEVER to get enough light to read a page. Good luck with everything – hope the load shedding gets better soon!

  6. I’ve never heard this word before! Just wondering do they have exact times where the electricity is gone in Nepal? I live in Delhi and it happens like this in parts where you know when the light is gone! Lovely candle light by the way 🙂

    • Yes, there is a schedule, but sometimes they don’t really follow it. Lately it seems like schedule is non-existant. Electricity is gone for most of the day. I had no idea Delhi has power cuts too!?

  7. “I feel like I am turning in a cat.” This line was hilarious.

    Load shedding is something we’ve been experiencing since a long time now. Still it doesn’t come into the priorities of our authorities. They just adapt themselves to problems instead of finding solutions.

    Well I’m coming back to Nepal in some weeks. I’ll be gifting headlights to my friends and family.

    BTW, I booked a flight from Turkish Airlines. They altered my dates by cancelling the initial flght and replacing it by another that took off 2 days after. I was furious. I cancelled the whole flight. It took me 3 days to get them on telephone and ask for the explanation. It seems that customer relationship is not their thing. I have read some blogs over their flight management. I think Turkish Airlines wont be my primary choice for a long time.

    Anyway, enjoy ! !

  8. Pingback: Time flies when you’re having fun | The Roofs of Kathmandu

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