South Africans across the country are scrambling to stock up on candles, solar-powered appliances and generators after Eskom’s recent re-instatement of rolling blackouts. This comes after their announcement that load shedding is set to last for the next three years. Not only will the ramifications of this be dire for the economy, but for the average everyday citizen too. While some downtime is inevitable, making sure your business can go on as usual (or as close to it as possible) is crucial. Accepting that load shedding will become part of our daily lives might take some getting used to. In the meantime, it’s wise to prepare yourself for the next time the lights go out.
First things first, make checking the load shedding schedule the first thing you do every morning.
Eskom’s mismanagement of our power supply also applies to their ability to stick to a schedule. One minute we’re in Stage 1, the next, Stage 3a. The onus is on the individual to stay up to date with scheduled outages. Add Eskom’s load shedding page to your bookmarks, and check it daily.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the proposed load shedding schedule for the day, email it to your employees in order to plan accordingly and mitigate downtime.
Invest in a back-up power source – preferably an uninterrupted power supply (UPS).
The first thing thousands of people Google following the announcement of the next spate of load shedding is where to buy a generator. As far as businesses are concerned – we’re talking offices as opposed to industrial plants and factories – investing in an UPS is preferable. Not only do they last longer than batteries, they’re also not reliant on fuel – making them a safer alternative to a diesel or petroleum-run generator. A good UPS is able to run one computer for 6 hours. Make sure to charge laptops and phones prior to a blackout, and use your UPS to connect a cordless phone and router in order to have access to the internet.
Be extra vigilant when the power goes out
Security is already a priority for most South Africans, but when the lights go out, opportunistic criminals will take advantage of compromised security. If your company’s access control involves electronically-powered gates, booms or biometric recognition systems, you’ll need to make sure that there are manual locks in place. Don’t leave doors and gates open during a power outage. As inconvenient as it may be, don’t leave your safety up to chance.
Be mindful about your electricity usage.
Load shedding is the result of our national power grid’s inability to meet the demand for electricity. Do your bit to assist in saving power, by switching off and unplugging any appliances that aren’t being used. If everyone changed their habits to be more mindful about the way we use power, we’d be that much closer to reducing the amount of load shedding we’re subjected to.
Invest in alternatively powered appliances
As the reality of load shedding hits, it’s prudent to invest in appliances that will make the power outages that much more bearable. Solar-power chargers, lights (if your business or home is in a high-risk area, it’s essential to install solar-powered security lights to ward off any potential intruders), and gas cookers are all prudent investments.
Image Credit: Randfontein Herald