Nobody loves load shedding. However, you can still keep your bright outlook on life with a few savvy tweaks to your schedule and home even if you don’t have a generator. Here’s MiWay’s cheat sheet to keep you from blowing your fuse during the current bout of load shedding:
Keep to a schedule
The first and most basic rule of load shedding? Forewarned is forearmed. Ensure that you have an up-to-date load shedding schedule, from both your municipality and your power provider. Save or put up the planned outage times somewhere easily accessible, like your phone, your Google calendar or on your fridge. That way, you are never left in the dark.
Know your other schedules, too
Many people go and check their residential address’ load shedding schedule and think that they are sorted. But you need to level up by checking the schedule of anywhere you or your loved ones regularly spend time – like your office, the gym or your kids’ schools. Be sure to also put those areas’ scheduled load shedding times where you can easily access them.
Let there be light
A general rule of thumb with any kind of power outages is that access to some / enough light makes things far more bearable. Place battery or solar-powered lamps throughout your house, ready for use when you are suddenly plunged into darkness. If you use candles, make sure they are on a stable surface and secured so they don’t fall over or are in the way of a draught. Snuff out all candles before you leave the room.
Braai, the beloved country
It is one of our most endearing heritages, so take the opportunity to light a fire and braai. You can even turn it into a social occasion and invite family and friends. If you cannot braai, use gas to cook if possible.
Store boiled water in a flask to ensure you can still have a cup of tea or coffee.
Ice ice baby
To keep your food cold, do not open the refrigerator and freezer doors unnecessarily. Take out what you need quickly, then close the doors and keep them closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for four to six hours if the door is kept closed.
We often forget that criminals read the news too and there are almost certainly burglars who will exploit load shedding for their own ends. Do not be caught out – be extra vigilant when arriving at home or in your home. Ask your security company, if you have one, to meet you on arrival and make sure you secure all your doors and windows. Ensure you have solar or battery-operated lights that switch on when the electricity goes out and, if you have dogs, make sure that they are patrolling and visible during scheduled load shedding times.
On the charge
Where possible, charge your devices, especially your cell phone and power bank, fully while the power is on. Charge your device while you are driving using a car charger.
With temperatures soaring, take a dip in the pool, if you have one, or take a quick cold shower / bath to cool down. If you have black out curtains, keeping them closed will help keep your house / flat cool. Open your windows and doors (if it’s not a security risk) from late afternoon to early morning if overnight temperatures will fall below your inside temperature.
Time to unplug
Power surges have been known to fry many a computer (and other electronics) when the lights come back on. When load shedding hits your area, unplug any appliances and electronic equipment such as laptops, blenders, cell phones, printers and televisions. If you can afford it, get yourself a UPS or surge protection plugs for your expensive electronics. Check with your insurance company to see whether you are covered for power surges and dips. Although most insurance policies cover lightning damage, not all homeowners or household contents insurance policies automatically cover you for damage caused by power surges and dips.
While some of the larger petrol stations have generators, some may not, and that could be a problem for you if you are running on empty when the power goes off. In order to actually dispense fuel, petrol pumps require electricity, and this is the reason we see so many orange cones in front of stations’ entrances during load shedding. To avoid getting stranded, try and keep your tank at least half full at all times.