31 ways you can make load-shedding easier on your family

Prep your family so you can continue uninterrupted during load-shedding.
Prep your family so you can continue uninterrupted during load-shedding.

Stage 6 loadshedding, once the basis of a joke about Eskom blowing out your candles, is now a South African reality. 

Whatever the reasons behind Eskom's failures and resulting power outages, we're all facing a long, hot summer without electricity. 

Also read: 'There aren't even six stages of grief' - Twitter users react to stage 6 load shedding

When exactly our power supply will become stable again is a mystery, so it's best to brace ourselves and get prepared. 

We've gathered our top tips to lessen the blow of load-shedding for your family this Christmas. 

1. Preparing for an unexpected power outage:

  • Ensure that your cell phone is always fully charged when power is available, and get a power bank as back-up (remember to keep it charged). If you need to get some work done, charge your laptop battery too.
  • Try to keep some fuel in the car's tank since during power outages, petrol stations cannot pump fuel.
  • Ensure that you have adequate cash as auto tellers cannot operate without electricity.
  • Keep temporary lighting, such as candles and electric torches, readily available.
  • Keep a torch (with fresh batteries) by your bedside at all times, since your cellphone battery may run flat.
  • Obtain a small LP gas lamp, as they provide good quality lighting for a large area.
  • An LED battery-operated night light will provide a warm, comforting glow in your child's room.
  • Obtain a stand-by bottled LP gas heating ring for essential cooking and to boil water for hot beverages.
  • Get some sterilising liquid or tablets or have a gas stove and pot to hand so you can sterilise your baby's bottles.
  • Keep adequate stocks of essential foodstuffs and snacks that do not need to be refrigerated.
  • Place plastic containers with water in your freezer or freezer compartment. This frozen water will act like ice bricks to help keep food cold during a power outage. It also helps your fridge to save electricity otherwise. When you fill the bottles or tubs with water, leave some space so the water can expand.
  • Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling. To be sure about this, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Regularly check your alarm system's battery. During outages, the battery may die and it won't be active in the dark. 

2. Just before scheduled load-shedding:

  • Release automatic electric garage door mechanisms to allow you to gain access to your property during a power outage.
  • Release electric security gates and switch to manual operation to avoid either being locked out or locked into your home.
  • Boil water and keep in hot water flasks for hot drinks.
  • Use a thermal cover on tea pots and other pots and pans to keep hot drinks, soup and other hot meals warm.
  • Prepare meals beforehand so your kids won't have to eat peanut butter sandwiches for dinner (again).
  • Homework by candlelight can be potentially hazardous, so make sure you have a bright gas or LED lamp ready.
  • Buy glow-in-the-dark stickers and allow your children to decorate their rooms. Little stars or planets on the ceiling will brighten their night!


  • Teach your children about fire safety! Keep candles in safe containers out of reach, and don't leave them on overnight.
  • Always ensure there are no gas leaks (ask an expert to install your gas if you're not 100% confident) and switch all gas appliances off the moment you're done with them. 
  • Remind your neighbours of the same.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand.

3. During a power outage:

  • Switch it off! If the power goes off, it is safer to turn off or disconnect any electrical appliances that you were using, since a power surge may occur when the electricity is restored.
  • It is always useful to keep one light switched 'on' to alert you when the power returns.
  • Keep refrigerator doors closed. This will keep your food colder for longer. A power outage of up to 4 hours should not cause food spoilage, and a freezer should keep frozen food safe for at least a day. 
  • Do not burn refuse, unwanted furniture, copper wire or any other materials to cook or for heat. This emits toxic fumes.
  • If you arrive home in the dark, and you have armed response service, check if they will wait for you at your house and accompany you into your home.
  • Have old-fashioned fun with the kids with games, or listen to a podcast or audio book that you downloaded before.
  • Go outside in the dark and gaze at the stars.

Sources: http://www.capetown.gov.za, PowerAlert

Chat back:

How do you prepare your family and home for load-shedding? What does your family eat when the power goes out? What about homework? Your baby? Tell us and share your tips and we may publish them.

Also read:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
32% - 3215 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
14% - 1431 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
53% - 5248 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.