The Complete guide to load shedding survival
It has become the so-called Norm to expect a power outage in South Africa over the coming years. Planning for load shedding and it’s stages has become something to schedule into your daily activities. All this to ensure you don’t get caught in the dark. It has come to a point where we ‘celebrate a stage 2 over a stage 4 or stage 6 outage. Is this normal? It seems that we in South Africa are not the only ones that experience power outages due to huge demands in power supply. According to Bloomberg news agency, war, drought, climate change as well as production shortages and the backlash to the Covid-19 pandemic have played a crucial role in negatively affecting the energy markets globally.
Compared to a few years ago when the only option was a generator, there are now quite a few solutions available.
If you’re able to make a cup of coffee in the morning and a warm meal for the kids, then everything is more manageable. The easiest and cheapest options are two-plate gas stoves. Also use a gas kettle to boil water for coffee and tea.
Braai time, all the time
Of course if you don’t want to invest in additional gas canisters for cooking, there is always the good old trusty braai. You can do a lot on the fire, from boiling water, making food and even dessert. Gas might just be quicker and cleaner, but a braai brings some ambience.
Rechargeable LED Lights
These are an invaluable addition to your load shedding requirements and just a couple of these will give your home enough light to move around easily in the evening. Prices may vary depending on the devices but also very affordable. Buy one every month to have enough over a period of time.
Wall-mounted and perfect for use in closets and drawers, sheds, fridges and garages, or any space that need quick bright lighting.
Smart Rechargeable LED Bulbs
Smart rechargeable LED Bulbs
A direct replacement for a standard bulb, and the built-in battery will automatically charge when the bulb is switched on and when the power goes out, the bulb will continue to burn for up to six hours, depending on the brand you buy (cheaper brands only last an hour).
Surge protection plugs
With the amount of load shedding we’re now experiencing, it’s worth buying a few surge protection plugs and multi-way adapters to safeguard your electronics from power surges when the electricity comes back on. Better to spend a few bucks on a surge protection plug than to replace a TV or refrigerator.
These are portable batteries designed to recharge electronic gadgets when you don’t have access to regular power. They are great for items like cell phones and tablets.
Uninterrupted Power Supply
This allows for devices to stay powered when the electricity cuts. But not a long-term power solution. They also help to safeguard against power surges.
Compact and easy to use, they convert energy from a battery bank and even a small one will be enough to power your Wi-Fi, TV, and decoder. Decide which appliances are essential then check their voltages and ensure you buy an inverter that will do the job. This could be a pricey alternative.
These are usually petrol or diesel powered and there is now a variety of sizes from which to choose, depending on your needs. Good to have especially the low noise options.
if you have the cash then it’s worth considering going solar. A pricier alternative would be to go for the Tesla Power Wall 2.
Whether or not one has a back-up power source, it’s important to adequately prepare your home as this will go a long way in minimizing frustration during load shedding. I suggest the following:
Check your area’s load shedding schedule regularly (or where you will be at the time);
By now, you will know if your security system is struggling to cope with load shedding and, if it is, call in a security consultant to boost your backup power. Sadly, power outages are the perfect opportunity for thieves to take advantage of the darkness, so make sure your home is secure
It’s a good idea to buy a couple of extra torches, candles and matches for ‘just in case’. You never know when they might come in handy. Transfer your car and house keys to a small key ring torch and whistle so that you can see where you’re going. Also blow the whistle if you feel you are under threat in the darkness
Keep devices charged
Make sure your phone and laptop are always charged and keep a charger in your car for emergencies
Keep symbiotic items together
Store matches and lighters with candles, batteries with torches etc. Nothing is more than searching around in the dark for matches to light the candle that you need to be able to see to find the matches;
Safeguard electronic equipment
Switch off sensitive electronic and electrical appliances prior to the scheduled power interruption as when the power comes back on, there can be power surges that can damage delicate electronics
Safeguard your sleep
Make sure to turn off all the lights and electronics before the power goes out to avoid a rude awakening when the power comes back on in the wee hours and you are blasted by the television and the glare of overhead lights
Remember to take your car out the garage before the power is scheduled to go out if the doors are electrically operated. If you have a manual override, keep a foot ladder next to your car so there are no accidents from balancing precariously on your bonnet when in a hurry to get to work. And make sure your tank always has petrol – you do not want to break down at night in the middle of load shedding
Fill the empty space in your freezer with containers of water as frozen water will displace air and keep food cold longer if the power goes out. Remember to leave space in containers for ice to expand
Again follow-up on your local load shedding schedule to stay informed on the latest updates
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