Gadgets to lighten your load (shedding)

2014-12-14 08:00

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Does load shedding have you pulling your hair out in the dark? Eskom says it’s here to stay for a while, so City Press hit Makro and Builders Warehouse in search of power solutions from the very pricy to the extremely low-tech. Here’s what we found.

R60: Battery-backed globe

As soon as the lights go out, hit the button on your remote control and the batteries in these clever globes kick into action. The globes are energy-efficient and last up to six hours. Once power’s restored, push the button again and the globes start working with electricity.

From R299: Gas stoves

These portable one- or two-plate stoves will save you from nightly suppers of peanut butter sandwiches. You will need to buy a cylinder for the gas, but if that makes you feel unsafe, look at a nifty little camping gas plate and disposable gas cartridge for just R29. This will last for up to six hours on medium heat.

From R100: Boost your cellphone

Never mind life without lights, the idea of living without cellphones strikes fear into many people’s hearts. Invest in a power bank, which you charge while Eskom’s behaving, and use this to juice up your phone during load shedding.

From R100: Solar lights

Luckily it’s summer in South Africa, so solar lights of various sizes can charge in the sun all day to illuminate your home and garden at night.

From R3?500: Generators

This is a pricier solution, with a small generator costing about R3?500. You need a qualified electrician to install the generator – it’s important that the proper regulators and surge protectors are fitted. Installation often isn’t included in your purchase price. Then there’s the extra cost of petrol or diesel to keep it running.

From R750: UPS

An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is useful for home offices that rely on computers, data centres and telecommunications equipment. Units range in size depending on how much you need to keep going when the power goes off. One of Makro’s smaller portable UPS units costs R759.

How much power do you get from a home generator?

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