Shopping malls and loadshedding

I am a night owl, always have been i expect I always will be. Most nights I hang out in the city centre (Cape Town), and drive home on the N1. And the one thing really gets my goat when driving home is the Canal Walk shopping complex. When I drive past the complex at 4 in the morning, it’s lit up like a bloody Christmas tree, with every light from the shopping malls to the parking lamps still blazing brightly. Unless I missed the memo saying that there’s been a helluva extension to shopping hours, this is totally unacceptable.

Canal Walk by night

I don’t have stats to go on, but my common sense tells me that surely there’s no one there. So why the hell are all those lights on? I’m sure that even the fat cats in charge must have heard a word or two about ‘this load shedding business’ the rest of us have to deal with? How many homes could run off the power being wasted on lighting up an empty mall at 3am? This especially pisses me off when I drive by the neon city only to get home and find the my own neighbourhood has been load shed.

My gut feeling is that malls should have some sense of social responsibility and turn their bloody lights off when the day is done. Even if they don’t turn them all off, every light helps. And if the malls don’t step up to the plate of their own accord, local government should be getting involved. Honestly, I can’t see why Canal Walk hasn’t come to the party on this issue – surely in today’s green friendly society this is a perfect opportunity for them to turn a negative into a positive by position the mall’s brand as one that cares not only about the environment, but about the surrounding communities.

So, I’m going to start a petition and pass it around and see how many people feel the same way I do, which is very, very upset annoyed angry -you pick one. If I can find them, I’ll be taking the result to the shopping mall management. For now, take a second and cast your vote on the issue here



9 Responses

  1. Good point, I’ve been wondering about similar things myself, off to vote now..

  2. […] to Lester Hein for the link. Also see his call for votes to stop shopping mall lights being left on after trading […]

  3. […] Shopping malls and loadshedding […]

  4. Yeah let’s make some noise about this! The same goes for the V&A Waterfront

  5. Most offices keep their lights on too. There is an argument (ask any engineer) that normal office tube lighting is cheaper to run than to switch off and on because of the “starter” motor and the drain on power required to start these lights.
    But there are also the regular incadecent lighting used to “spotlight” stuff that are generally very high wattages.
    But the strongest argument is for leveling the pricing model substantially so that industry pays a bit more for their consumption (which is about a 10th of the price we pay). May make them think about the machines etc that are left on.
    Another argument is that big organisations replace all CRT’s with LCDS or even better with workstation laptops. The power consumption on these is significantly lower than the average desktop.
    Sanyo have built an entire building – the solar ark – using imperfect solar panels from their own manufacturing plant. The building is pretty self sufficient. There are some new buildings going up in Holland that are designed to almost entirely “off grid”.
    Jeez. There is such a huge opportunity in this country, it is begging for attention and investment.

  6. Here from

    The one thing to remember is that load-shedding is caused by us not been able to generate electricity for _current_ demand as we are unable to store (on the most part) electricity. I do not think there is a high-demand of electricity in South Africa at 3am, and I would be quite surprised to hear of any load-shedding happening at that time at all.

    Therefore, them turning off, or down their lights late at night would be purely a marketing gimmick on the most part and not help one bit with energy reduction doing peak times.

  7. You do realise that malls such as Canal Walk stay open overnight, right? Sure, the stores are closed, but people are welcome to browse etc.

    I also highly doubt places such as the V&A Waterfront will ever have to turn their lights of since the V&A is the number 1 visited tourist destination in the country…

  8. @lydon,

    yeah, i realise that malls do stay pen after hours, but seriuosly – who’s browsing at 3am?

    The V&A is a little different in this regard (but only a little) in that some of the tenants in the mall are bars, restuarants, etc.

    Thanks for the comment, very informative. Was still infuriating that it did happen to me tho, and on two occasions. I still think that even if them reducing their consumption doesn’t help with load shedding, it would still be an eco friendly step, which never hurts

  9. Great post – will visit again=D

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