You don’t have to be left in the dark! Here are some practical solutions to lessen the impact:
1. Get lit
Use LED globes with a rechargeable battery backup. Some designs will automatically switch to the battery once the power goes off. Other function as a handheld flashlight. They are priced from about R50 and a good one can really make a difference.
Whatever backup form of light you choose, torches, candles or lanterns, make sure that you store them in easy-to-access places around your home. Pro tip: Stock up on batteries!
2. Charge your laptop
Make sure your laptop is charged. All the time. Laptops are great for charging phones and some can function as a DVD player.
3. Put a flask to the task
If you love your coffee or tea, do your future self a favour and fill a thermos flask with boiling water. You’re welcome.
4. Buy a generator
If your budget allows for it – buy a generator. Look at portable generators that will meet the needs of your home by compiling a list of all the appliances that will run on generator power during an outage. Add the amount of power required to run each item on your list. Calculate the total wattage of the appliances that will run together to determine what size generator you need.
A mid-sized generator of about 1500 – 2300 watt is sufficient to power lighting, computers, and some appliances.
If you are willing to pay a bit more, opt for an inverter generator to protect your electronic equipment. The power the generator produces can fluctuate and damage your computer or television.
5. Go solar
If the noise of a generator is a big downside for you – why not consider solar power? Advances in solar power technology offers hybrid systems which function as back-up and complementary power.
6. Come on baby light my gas braaier!
Get yourself a gas stove or a camping stove. This way you can cook food or boil a kettle even when the lights are out.
During winter it is also beneficial to have a gas heater.
7. Freeze ahead
Freeze water in empty plastic drinking bottles so that when the power goes out you can either leave it in the freezer to prevent the meat from thawing. You can also move it to the fridge to keep the food cold.
8. Car chargers for phones
Get a car charger and keep it in the car to make the most of your drive home. Especially if you will need that nifty flashlight on your smartphone.
9. Remember to unplug your devices
Power turning on and off can mess with your appliances and may lead to permanent damage. If possible, keep all your sensitive equipment unplugged during load shedding.
10. Don’t lose your cool
There are lots of interesting, rechargeable gadgets out there. But during the South African summer, the one you want is a rechargeable fan. Their prices start at about R150 online and some designs even incorporate a lighting solution.