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Six ways to minimise the impact of load shedding

Published on: 06 June 2015

With load shedding set to remain a part of the South African way of life for the foreseeable future, the best way to deal with it is to accept it and make plans to reduce the impact wherever possible. That’s according to short-term insurer MiWay, which says being informed and taking minor precautions can substantially alleviate the frustration and inconvenience caused by intermittent power failures.

1.     Information is power

We would all prefer to have a constant supply of electricity, but in the absence of that, knowing when and where load shedding takes place goes a long way to dealing with the consequences. Because schedules can change quite quickly, keeping up to date can be tricky. Bookmark Eskom’s website , get a load shedding checker app http://eskomapp.co.za/ and follow Eskom on Twitter https://twitter.com/eskom_sa.

2.     Keep calm and carry on

Tensions can rise during load shedding and we all agree it is annoying. However, worrying about the things you can do nothing about isn’t healthy; frayed tempers, especially in traffic or at home, can lead to doing things you later regret. Plan ahead and keep a cool head.

3.     Take extra care on the road

Tensions can quickly rise in load shedding and nowhere is that more apparent than in a traffic snarl with robots on the blink. Since you’re already calm, match your demeanour by being extra vigilant and cautious; treat all traffic light intersections like 4-way stops; be patient and accept that you’re likely to get to where you’re going later than planned.

4.     Start cooking with gas

While generators are a great idea, not everyone can afford them. For a small investment, a gas cooker can transform the load shedding experience by heating water and helping with hot meals. Don’t forget the good old South African braai, either (as if you needed another excuse to have another one). Keep candles, torches and gas lights ready. Make sure you have batteries for the torches; matches for the candles; and your solar lights are properly charged. Consider stocking up on these items.

5.     Switch off sensitive electrical devices

Sometimes it’s not the power going off but it’s coming back on that is most damaging for electrical appliances. Sensitive ones like computers and TVs should have surge protectors. Leave sensitive appliances off for a few minutes after the power comes back on – the supply can go off again suddenly, so wait until it has stabilised. Consider setting up appliances on multi-plug extension leads, so a group of them can be isolated with a single flick of a switch at a wall outlet.

6.     Keep your phone charged in case of emergency

Car chargers, booster batteries and solar solutions are a great idea to keep phones charged and ready to use. If things go wrong when the lights go out, you want to be able to contact the local security company or the police; don’t let a depleted battery catch you out. Make sure your phone is charged even when the worst of load shedding strikes.

By being prepared for load shedding, and approaching it with the best possible attitude, you can minimise the impact on your life. Load shedding itself isn’t pleasant, but with a little creative thinking and some preparation, you can make it a lot less hassle.