We’re all well acquainted with the term load shedding, and despite feeling somewhat powerless in the face of it all, there is some ‘light’ that can be shed on the situation.
We’ve used the time spent in the darkness to come up with six really useful hacks to surviving load shedding…
1. Be prepared
There’s nothing like waking up in the morning, walking sleepily to the coffee machine, pressing the button and expecting to see that glorious amber stream falling into your cup. And then. Nothing.
Have your metaphorical ducks in a row by putting an up-to-date load shedding schedule on the fridge, saved on your phone, attached to the family calendar, on your mirror – wherever! Make sure you have the municipality schedule as well as your own power providers’ schedule.
Make sure you have schedules for other areas readily available too. We sometimes only think about our residential area, but forget about where we work, the gym or the kids’ schools. An easy way to do this is by having the EksomSePush App loaded onto your phone. This clever app provides easy and anytime access to most schedules around you.
2. When in doubt, braai!
One of South Africa’s most wonderful heritages gets to be celebrated, despite the frustration of load shedding. This forced break from the stove makes for the most wonderful excuse to invite friends over and enjoy a candlelit braai dinner.
3. Hot or cold?
Preempt the darkness and store some hot water in a flask so that you can still make coffee or tea. If you prefer cold water, keep bottles of water that have been frozen in your deep-freezer, so you’re not forced to drink tap water at room temperature.
Also remember to not take long, drawn-out looks inside your fridge or freezer. Open and close the door quickly in order to keep as much of the coolness inside. Your fridge will be able to keep food cold for 4-6 hours when the door is kept closed.
4. Make sure you have light
It’s easy to feel a bit more optimistic about the situation when you have some light, instead of being plunged into utter darkness.
Keep an oil lamp, torch, battery-powered lamp or fully charged portable light in various, easily accessible places around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of new, spare batteries too.
Where possible, try to keep your devices charged. A power bank is super helpful when your phone’s battery life is dwindling. We love this one from Incredible Connection.
If any of the above fail, make sure to have a stash of candles and matches – also somewhere that’s easy to get to.
5. Be safe
Someone with criminal intent will find load shedding very conducive to their end goal. This is why we have to emphasise safety during these times. Stay safe with these five tips:
- Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates usually rely on electricity so make sure that they all have good back-up batteries.
- Be especially careful when driving home on streets that are dimly-lit or not lit at all. Watch out for robots that are not working and cars that may not have their headlights turned on.
- If you’re connected to a security company, ask them to meet you when arriving home and make sure you secure all your doors and windows.
- Ensure you have solar or battery-operated lights that switch on when the electricity goes out and,
- if you have dogs, make sure that they’re running around and staying visible during scheduled load shedding times.
6. Beat load shedding all together!
If your budget allows it, investing in a generator is a worthwhile decision. Along with this kind of long-term planning, consider if there are better ways to reduce your home’s electricity consumption.
This should be considered as part of a longer-term investment and cost-saving exercise. Consider putting in solar panels, which banks are willing to incentivise when taking out a loan to do so, according to GreenCape .
You can also switch to gas stoves and ovens, and replace air conditioning with ceiling fans and fireplaces.
A pre-paid electricity meter could also be effective to monitor your home’s power consumption and assist with budgeting for power on a monthly basis.
By Features Writer, Andrea Cresswell