Be ready for dark SA, expert warns

2015-03-02 00:00

UNDER threat of a two-week national blackout should Eskom’s fragile ­electricity grid fail, a disaster management expert has warned South Africans to prepare for the worst.

The Witness recently revealed that the City of Msunduzi had no contingency plan should the country go dark.

Should the grid collapse, Eskom would be forced to initiate a “dark start” and would need two weeks to restore power to the country.

Disaster management specialist ­Adrian Barnes said that the reality of the current power crisis would impact on all citizens.

“I would recommend that people should adapt their lifestyles to the environment that we live in today, the power outages and water shortages that will follow are here to stay. Our government seems to be more reactive than proactive and while they say plans are in place, I believe they may not be in tune with our environment and we will be playing catch up for many years to come,” he said.

He said citizens would be well served to practise a self-sufficient lifestyle and lean away from an over reliance on ­Eskom.

“People should invest in natural gas and solar power where possible and ­invest in rainwater catchment tanks. ­Vegetable gardens developed in gardens would be helpful and environmentally friendly, north facing houses in colder ­regions would be advantageous,” Barnes added.

He said that in the event of a national blackout, people should be able to ­survive on stores they should build up for as long as three weeks.

“Presently South Africa is experiencing an electricity shortage. Although power outages are a direct result which seems to be receiving the most attention right now, a more serious and life threatening consequence of electricity outages over an extended period is the threat to water supply.

“Many people will keep a lot of cash available, but it is recommended that you rather have appropriate basic essentials at hand. Special attention should be ­given to the security of yourself and your family, and wise individuals would ­prepare an action plan which is discussed and rehearsed in case the electricity grid falters.”



Barnes advocates a proactive ­approach by all to avoid a possible nation-wide blackout.

Tips to curb excessive electricity use include the following:

• Switch off and unplug all non ­essential appliances.

• Switch off and unplug all chargers of any kind when not in use.

• Switch off and unplug all computers and computer screens when not in use.

• Switch off your stove at the isolator on the wall when not in use.

• Install a timer onto your geyser.

• Shorten the time of your pool pump to the minimum required. Consider reducing your present pumping time by at least three hours.

• Switch off and unplug all non-essential appliances when leaving your place of work.

• Ensure all non-essential lights are switched off when leaving your place of work.

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