Power Outages caused by load shedding typically last 3 hours and are a significant cause of loss of productivity at work, impact our economy negatively and are a source of  frustration at home.   Clearly it helps if the outages are part of scheduled load shedding as this makes it possible to make contingency plans.

Being frustrated that Eskom’s monopoly on power generation coupled with their mis-management of power supply is fully justified.  However until the system is changed  (democratization of power!), how do we survive load shedding?   Reducing our electricity use especially during the morning and evening peaks is a reasonable citizen’s contribution to reducing the demand on the electricity supply.  It reduces the need for load shedding.

Strategies to survive load shedding  at Work:

Depending on the nature of the business, some solutions, include:
Relocating some of the work to branches in areas less affected by load shedding or even working from home in areas where there is power.

Purchase or hire back-up generators. Make sure you have fuel and someone who knows how to use them!

Purchase a battery operated uninterrupted power supply for your computers so that they can continue to run during load shedding.

Install or hire a battery operated back-up lighting unit.  Alternatively fit individual LED globes which come with a built in rechargeable battery.  Flash is a local brand.  These LED lights are reasonably priced and screw into a standard light fittings making them a clever and affordable form of emergency lighting. When switched on the battery charges so that in the event of a power failure, the LED globe can be activated. The globe has an independent on/ off switch which can be activated during a power outage and will give light for up to 12 hours.

Strategies to survive load shedding at Home:

Post the load shedding times on the fridge so that your family will not be caught unawares by a power outage.

Install a number of emergency LED globes with a rechargeable battery backup (see description above).

Find the favourite family games that you used to play before TV took over.

Dust off the gas camping stove and ensure that the cylinder is full. Stock up with quick and easy camp style food. Alternatively a fondue is a fun response to supper without electricity.

Keep a thermos flask of boiling water handy for soothing cups of tea while wondering why 3 hours without power seems so long.

If your house is too cold and too dark visit friends or family in an area with power – but be prepared to reciprocate when it is their turn without electricity.

KimK June 2013