Load shedding is now part of our daily lives and it’s affecting us whether we’re at home or work. It therefore makes sense to be prepared so that the situation causes us the least amount of frustration.
Load shedding schedules make it easier to plan your productivity for when the lights are on, but we all still need to get on with our lives.
Here is a survival guide to load shedding with ten handy tips to help you cope:
- Know the schedule: Download the latest Android app ‘Load Shed’ to know when scheduled load shedding will be taking place.
- Lights: Use battery-operated torches or portable lights and place them on your desk at the office or in rooms in the house where you’ll need light such as the kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedrooms. You can also opt for solar lantern lights. They can either be charged from the mains or via a solar panel, which needs between four and six hours in the sun. A solar light will give you up to eight hours of light if it’s fully charged. Another option is to invest in an LP gas lamp which can light up a large area.
- Cooking: Opt for a gas cooker for cooking. It comes with different cooking surface fittings so that you can place pots on top of it or make a stir fry thanks to a wok fitting. Other options include a gas stove, a gas braai and a portable two-plate gas stove. Another idea is to boil water and keep it in a flask so that you don’t miss out on your much-deserved cup of tea or coffee. Prepare one-pot dishes that freeze well and keep them for an unexpected power outage. Stock up on healthy snacks and canned food. A braai will also do the trick.
- UPS for computer: Invest in surge-protected extension leads and Uninterrupted Power Systems (UPS) for your computer. A UPS can give you up to an hour of power depending on the model and at the very least it gives you the option of powering down a Windows device as it doesn’t like being switched off suddenly.
- Generator: Decide which appliances you want to run when the electricity goes out. To determine the size of the generator you need you’ll have to calculate the total wattage required. Make a list of the appliances you want to power, you can find labels with the wattage information on each one (sometimes they’re inside the door of the appliance or on the back). Compromise on certain appliances, for example you may want to power the microwave instead of the oven. Add the wattages together and times the number by 1.5 as appliances require extra power to start up. The total will give you a good indication of the generator size you’ll need.
- Phone charger: Get a car phone charger so that you can charge your phone while making the school run or driving to work. Rechargeable battery and solar chargers are also available for phones.
- Keep a tab on your car’s fuel level. Petrol stations can’t pump when there is no power.
- Store cash in a safe place at home for an emergency as ATMs also don’t work when the power is out.
- Electric doors and gates: Switch them to manual operation to open them.
- No TV mom: Keep your tablets charged to keep the kids entertained. Old-fashioned board games and playing charades are also great to keep them busy and the whole family can join in for a fun night in.
Use these ideas to manage your life when you don’t have power. Share your tips and what works for you with friends and family, together we can make load shedding bearable.