At first it was just an idea between two friends who wanted an app to help simplify the load-shedding schedule. Today more than 500‚000 users depend on it.
Herman Maritz‚ who co-founded EskomSePush with Dan Wells‚ told TimesLIVE: “Dan and I were working in the same office at the time‚ building apps for banks. We laughed about making this simple push notification service.”
Within the first six weeks of its launch in 2015‚ the app had over 100‚000 active users. That number peaked at around 250‚000 active users before load-shedding was suspended later in 2015.
“Now in 2019‚ load-shedding is back — and now we have 550‚000 daily users‚” said Maritz.
Last week‚ Business Insider reported that EskomSePush was the most downloaded app on the South African IOS App store and the second most popular application (behind Whatsapp) on the Google Play store.
Load-shedding‚ last seen in SA in December‚ was implemented on Sunday last week‚ starting with stage 2. This was upgraded to stage 4 on Monday and reduced to stage 3 on Tuesday.
Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said on Monday that load-shedding was “unlikely” for this week.
Maritz explained how the app works: “We are sending push notifications as soon as load-shedding is announced and providing a schedule of when your area will be affected.
“The app makes it incredibly simple for users to get load-shedding schedules for multiple areas‚ without having to hunt them down across various sources. Our users are then able to plan their day and be informed.
“Load-shedding sucks — and it’s even worse when it’s unexpected. No one likes a bad surprise‚ so we provide this service to remove the surprise of load-shedding. We try to make our lives easier by making it more predictable.
“Our app is also designed to be as simple as possible‚ to remove as much confusion around load-shedding as possible‚” he added.
Maritz and Wells expect EskomSePush to have at least one million users by the end of February — if load-shedding continues.
While the app is free‚ Maritz said they are investigating the feasibility of adding extra features to allow users to find solutions to problems they are facing.
“Our primary focus is our user experience‚ not profitability. We think hard and long before making any decision that would impact the user’s experience‚” he said.