The complete guide to shedding survival

Over the years, the South Africans have become accustomed to dealing with the occasional stage 1 or 2 shedding, and so have only made minor concessions, but, with stages 4 and 6 now occurring regularly, we need to plan accordingly to minimize stress and disruption to our lives.

Most families and businesses can easily work around a two-hour powerless period each day, but the disruption caused by the number of outages we are currently experiencing is making life very difficult.

And, with no end in sight for the foreseeable future, being better prepared has become essential and providing our own solutions has become a necessary investment whose benefits now far outweigh the expense.

Compared to a decade ago when the only real option was an expensive generator, there are now a number of solutions available, some of which are very cost effective.

  • go gas – If you are able to make a cup of coffee in the morning and a hot meal for the kids, then everything is more manageable. The simplest and cheapest options are two-plate gas stoves which cost around R500 or a camping gas stove which costs around R250.
  • Rechargeable lamps – These are an invaluable addition to your shedding arsenal and just a few of them will give your home enough light to move around easily at night. Prices start at around R200. Add a few headlamps perfect for reading and you’re good to go.
  • Wireless switches – Wall mounted and perfect for use in cupboards and drawers, sheds, fridges and garages, or any space that needs quick, bright lighting, from around R100.
  • Smart rechargeable LED bulbs – A direct replacement for a standard bulb, and the built-in battery automatically charges when the bulb is turned on and when the power is turned off, the bulb will continue to burn for up to six hours, depending on which brand you purchase.
  • Surge protection plugs – With the amount of load shedding we’re experiencing right now, it’s worth buying a few surge protector outlets and multi-port adapters to protect your electronics from power surges when the power comes back on.
  • Power banks – These are portable batteries designed to charge electronic gadgets when you do not have access to a regular power supply. They are great for items like cell phones and tablets and prices start at around R200.
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) – Depending on how many devices and appliances you need to stay powered, these start at around R700. They also help guard against power surges.
  • inverters – Compact and easy to use, they convert the energy of a battery bank and even a small one will be enough to power your wifi, TV and decoder. Decide which appliances are essential, then check their voltages and make sure you buy a power inverter that will get the job done. Prices start at around R2,000.
  • Generators – These are usually petrol or diesel powered and there are now a variety of sizes to choose from, depending on your needs. Prices vary between R3,000 and R50,000.
  • Off-grid – if your budget is limited, it’s worth considering switching to solar power. You don’t have to go all the way right away – even starting with the geyser will make a big difference in your life, especially if you have a big family.

Whether or not a backup power source is available, it is important to properly prepare your home, as this will go a long way in minimizing frustration during load shedding. I propose the following:

  • Check the timetable regularly – to make sure you are not caught off guard;
  • Security – now you will know if your security system is struggling to cope with load shedding and if so, hire a security consultant to increase your backup power. Unfortunately, power outages are the perfect opportunity for thieves to take advantage of the darkness, so make sure your home is secure;
  • Additional lighting – It’s a good idea to buy a few extra torches, candles and matches “just in case” – you never know when they might come in handy. And transfer your car and house keys to a small torch and whistle keychain so you can see where you’re going and whistle if you feel threatened in the dark;
  • Stay charged – Make sure your phone and laptop are always charged and keep a charger in your car in case of emergency;
  • Stay warm – invest in a gas heater to keep the family warm on cold winter evenings;
  • snack time – stock up on snacks that don’t require cooking – crisps, dried fruit, cheese, crackers – to stave off hunger pangs until you can cook the next meal. And just before the power goes out, boil a full kettle and fill a flask so you can all enjoy a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate;
  • Keep Symbiotic Items Together – store matches and lighters with candles, batteries with torches, etc. – nothing more than searching in the dark for matches to light the candle you need to be able to see to find the matches
  • Protect electronic equipment – turn off sensitive electronics and electrical devices before the planned power outage, because when the power returns, there may be surges which can damage delicate electronic components;
  • Protect your sleep – Be sure to turn off all lights and electronics before the power goes out to avoid a rude awakening when the power comes back in the early morning and you are dazzled by TV and glare from overhead lights;
  • Stay mobile – Don’t forget to get your car out of the garage before the power cuts if the doors are electrically operated. If you have a hand drive, keep a foot ladder next to your car so there’s no precarious balance accident on your hood when you’re in a rush to get to work. And make sure you always have gas in your tank – you don’t want to break down at night while shedding;
  • Freezer savvy – Fill the empty space in your freezer with containers of water, as frozen water will displace air and keep food cold longer in the event of a power outage. Remember to leave space in the containers for the ice to expand;
  • Schedule homework and zoom calls – Keep an eye on the calendar so you don’t get cut off in the middle of an important Zoom meeting or when the kids need wifi to search for an important assignment;
  • Entertainment – Empty a drawer to fill it with board games, books, magazines and a deck or two of cards. If your kids are afraid of the dark, make a play tent out of sheets and add a rechargeable lamp, blanket and books or toys to make shedding more fun and spend some quality time in the tent reading or playing. at games.

If everything is prepared for the power outage, then it’s easier to keep a cool head and get on with your day or evening with minimal fuss or interruption.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate frustration and inconvenience, especially if the situation is protracted, it is possible to make the best of a bad situation – and often times that’s when the best memories are formed.

Yael Geffen is CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.