EskomSePush has been downloaded more than 12 million times
EskomSePush (ESP), the load-shedding stage and schedule-tracking app, has experienced a substantial surge in users amid South Africa’s worst year for load-shedding in 2023. This year marked a significant escalation in power cuts, with gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity shed exceeding the figures for 2022 by May. In the first half of 2023 alone, 15,300GWh of power was lost to load-shedding, reflecting a 30% increase compared to the entire year of 2022. By September 6, 2023, power cuts had reached 19,794GWh, surpassing the cumulative load-shedding between 2015 and 2022.
Given the intensifying need for South Africans to plan around these outages, apps like ESP have witnessed a considerable spike in downloads. Hermann Maritz, ESP’s co-founder, highlighted the app’s growth over the past year, revealing that ESP has been installed 9 million times on Android devices, 3 million times on iPhones, and attracted an additional 360,000 users from the Huawei AppGallery. The total number of installations, amounting to 12.36 million, is well over double the figure recorded in October 2022, just over a year ago.
ESP achieved its highest daily user count on September 12, 2023, with a remarkable 3.9 million unique users. Initially conceived as a side project, ESP has evolved to employ three full-time staff, facilitating the acceleration of feature improvements and app expansion.
Throughout 2023, the app introduced and enhanced various features catering to user needs:
Load-shedding Timeline: A visual timeline displaying when load-shedding will occur in a user’s selected areas, facilitating easier planning around outages.
Calendar Integration: Enabling the syncing of load-shedding schedules with personal calendars for enhanced organization.
Homescreen & Lockscreen Widget: Allowing users to check the load-shedding status at a glance without opening the app, with this feature requiring a Supporter subscription priced at R29.99 per month.
Expanded Area Coverage: Adding more areas to stay up-to-date on the latest schedules for every municipality in South Africa.
Improved Area Recommendations: The app now suggests nearby areas based on a user’s location, enhancing user convenience.
AskMyStreet Enhancements: An upgraded AskMyStreet feature, designed to be more robust and user-friendly, providing communities with a means to stay connected and support each other in obtaining essential information.
Maritz emphasized that each feature was designed with users in mind, striving to make dealing with load-shedding a smoother, more manageable experience.