Unfortunately, load shedding has become a hot topic of conversation for South Africans. It has also been the cause of momentous frustration, with having blackouts throughout the day and night, and blown devices from the power being switched on and off.
On the surface, there really is not much we can do to stop the load shedding, but we can try to make our own lives a little easier. Planning ahead for load shedding is the only way to make it bearable, even though it seems impossible at times.
Surviving Load Shedding
As sorry as it is to admit it, it really looks like load shedding is here to stay. We need to plan for a future where these rolling blackouts are a norm, and try and adapt to living with them.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help survive load shedding in South Africa
Not only is solar power a cheaper alternative in the long run, but it is also environmentally friendly. You don’t have to splash out to solar power your whole home at once, you can start off by installing a solar geyser or solar lamps. You can even buy a solar phone charger that can be left on the dash of your car during the day, and used to charge your phone at night. Many people are put off the idea of solar power at first as it does cost a lot to install, but after the initial installation, your costs are minimal.
Gas is the way to go. Many people are choosing gas over electrical stoves now. You can even opt for a camping or portable gas stove that can move around with you, even when you go camping. With a gas stove, you will still be able to cook and boil water when there is load shedding.
One of the biggest issues that ordinary people have during load shedding is that the food in their fridges and freezers become warm, defrost and even go off.
One of the most effective ways to combat this is by filling up clean plastic water bottles, sticking them in the freezer and leaving them there. When the power goes off, stick the frozen bottles in the fridge and freezer. This will keep the temperature and food inside the fridge and freezer cool so nothing spoils.
Battery Operated Lights
You can easily find some affordable battery operated lights at your local hardware. They come in a large range. Lanterns, torches and even light bulbs. Keep these in convenient places around the house and make sure that they are easy to access, especially in the dark.
They are much safer to use than candles and usually have quite a long life span. Just remember to keep some spare batteries on hand.
A head lamp could be your best friend during load shedding. Simply strap the head lamp onto your head and you have a portable light with you wherever you go in the house or garden. You don’t have to keep moving lights around the house when there is one strapped to your head!
For those who run a business or work from home, a generator might be the best option. They are expensive, but it is a sure-way to have electricity during load shedding. You can also choose the scale that you need, you can purchase a generator that will power the whole house, or a smaller one to keep certain devices powered up.
Sometimes load shedding happens when we least expect it. And as fate would have it, your phone or tablet will be about to die. One way to charge your phone, tablet or laptop when the power is off is by using a car charger.
There are some fast-chargers on the market, and they will charge your device in a short period of time. Simply plug in the car charger and leave your car running until you are happy with the amount your phone has charged.
Queries and Questions
Some places are supplied electricity straight from Eskom, and others through their municipalities.
If at any point you have any queries regarding load shedding and your schedule, here are some points of contact.
City of Cape Town
Phone: 0860 103 089
Johannesburg City Power
City of Tshwane
Phone: 012 358 9999
City of Ekhuruleni
Phone: 0860 543 000
Eskom Direct Customers
Phone: 086 003 7566
Load Shedding Myths
Switching your geyser on and off doesn’t actually save that much energy overall. However, it does help lessen the demand on Eskom to supply power during crucial periods. A geyser uses no more power to reheat water than it does to maintain the temperature of the water.
The same is true about geyser blankets. While a geyser blanket does help to reduce power used by reducing heat loss, a switched off geyser does help reduce power demand during crucial periods.
Switching Appliances On and Off
While switching lights or appliances on and off might cause a small surge in power, it is a great deal smaller than the amount of power used to keep the lights or appliances on when not in use.
Many people think that it takes less energy to maintain the temperature in a room than it does to switch the air conditioning off and re-cool the air. This isn’t true. It takes less energy to cool down a room than it does to keep the temperature cool over an extended period of time.
Load Shedding – Making It Through
Load shedding sucks, but it isn’t the end of the world. Before we know it, load shedding would have ended and we will be on to the next big thing. It is what we do as South Africans! Who knows what the next big news story or disaster is.
Looking on the bright side in darker times, we can appreciate the golden humour our fellow South African’s have. No matter how bad things get, we always manage to bring out our amazing spirit and jokes to keep us going.