Your guide to surviving Eskom phase 4 loadshedding

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PHOTO: Getty Images
PHOTO: Getty Images

The mere mention of Eskom these days is enough to make ordinary South Africans’ blood boil.

On Sunday, 17 March, the utilities company instituted stage 4 loadshedding due to a lack of capacity. And it’s unlikely that the power will be permanently switched back on any time soon.

We’ve dug through our archives to find you our top loadshedding survival tips:

  • Find your area’s loadshedding schedule online and make a print-out, then stick it on the fridge so you and your family can plan your schedule accordingly.
  • There are few things as frustrating as being locked out of your property or home because of an electric gate or garage door not working. Make sure you have trustworthy backup batteries installed.
  • If your alarm system depends on electricity to work, install an emergency app with a panic button on your phone.
  • Be sure to keep your cellphone and laptop charged when there is electricity so you don’t run out of battery power during an outage.
  • Most insurance companies will only pay out theft claims if your alarm system is activated. Contact your insurer and make sure you’ll still be covered during loadshedding.
  • Find out from your car insurer whether you’ll be covered in the event of an accident due to traffic lights not working. Either way, always be extra-careful when there’s an outage – approach any crossing as you would a four-way stop.
  • If you can afford it, it’s worth investing in a generator. Learn how to use it safely and test it on a monthly basis. Keep enough petrol (which should also be safely stored) to power a generator for a period of one week. 

SURGE PROTECTION

Electrical appliances weren’t designed to deal with power outages. That means instabilities in the power supply can damage your flatscreen TV in the long run. If you’re home when the power goes off, rather unplug appliances until after the power’s come back on.

Otherwise, it’s a good idea to buy surge protection adapters. Costs range from about R130 to more than R300, depending on the brand and number of plug points.

COOKING

It’s a good idea to invest in a small gas stove – unless you’re comfortable with eating sandwiches for dinner every night. A small two-plate stove costs between R450 and R900. At the very least you’ll be able to boil water for that essential first cup of coffee of the day. 

LIGHTING

Candles, lanterns and flashlights are all fine and well, but what if the power suddenly trips and you can’t find anything in the dark?

It might be a good idea to buy a rechargeable lightbulb and replace a normal lightbulb in a central room in your home with it, or screw it into your bedside lamp – that way, you’ll always know where it is.

These bulbs can cost anything from R80 to more than R300. As for outside lights, there are lights for your garden that work with solar power and can light your way if you happen to get home in the dark.

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