Eskom uses game to inform public about electricity challenges

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

National electricity supplier Eskom has not made many friends due to load shedding but hopes a new online game could at least win it some sympathy with locals.

The Eskom Energy Planner game, that went online this week, is a virtual representation of what it takes to provide electricity to a city.

The Eskom Energy Planner is a new game that informs the public about electricity supply challenges in South Africa. Picture Supplied

The Eskom Energy Planner is a new game that informs the public about electricity supply challenges in South Africa. Picture Supplied

Cape Town-based company Formula D interactive (CORRECT WITH LOWER CASE ON interactive) designed the game and its managing director Marco Rosa said the “goal is to build a happy city”.

“A happy city has a good balance between a healthy environment, the cost of electricity and safety,” he said.

The game user is tasked with producing power for a city, considering coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind energy sources. The actual cost of creating electricity with these energy sources is reflected in the game.

Rosa said Eskom waned to “use the game as an educational tool”.

“This game shows how complex it is to manage the power of a city, never mind a country,” he said.

Game users have to also ensure public safety by removing kites from power lines or reporting cable theft when they see it in the game. When this happens, an information box pops up with the actual number to call to report cable theft.

Game users are taken through different settings – a home, hospital, hotel, office and school – to solve electricity challenges in each place.

One can change light bulbs, for example, and find out about the real time energy and financial savings this has on a household.

The city scene also changes from day to night and different seasons to show the game user the energy needs at these different times.

The game also informs about how alternative energy sources work and compares how much energy each source can produce.

Rosa said Eskom would aim to also use the game as a recruitment tool and a training mechanism for staff.

“Eskom would potentially engage people who are good at the game to become engineers or to use the skills in the game in the Eskom environment,” he said.

“The next step would be to use the game as a training tool for staff, looking at scenarios relevant to the particular roles in the business.”

He added: “This game is a microcosm of the task that Eskom has. If I had to make a game of the actual task Eskom has to provide electricity for the country it would be complex. Eskom has a tough job.

“The game gives the public insight into the challenges and frustrations that Eskom has. Hopefully by playing this game the public can go to Eskom with some ideas.”

The game can be accessed on the Internet at this link http://www.formula-d.com/eskom-game

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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