Load shedding is a phenomenon that we, as South Africans, are unfortunately all too familiar with. Whether it surprises us out of the blue, or we’ve checked the load shedding schedule and we’re ready for it, it’s still a frustration that causes many inconveniences. From stage 1, passing stage 4, right through to stage 6, every day brings with it changes in the schedule, forcing us to make changes in our lifestyles and learn how to prepare for load shedding.
The ongoing struggle means we often find ourselves asking questions like “Is there load shedding today?”, or “What time is load shedding today?” Unfortunately, it seems like it’s going to be around for a while. As such, we need to adapt to make our lives easier. We at SweepSouth want you to avoid the load shedding stress as much as we want you to avoid the stress of a dirty home. Here are some essentials and helpful gadgets to ease the struggle of load shedding.
- Compact gas stove
- Portable thermo cooler
- Surge protector plug
- Solar or battery-powered lighting
- A power bank
- A generator
- An inverter
- An uninterruptible power supply
1. Compact Gas Stove
Gas stoves are a lifesaver during load shedding, or all power outages for that matter. Out of the many interruptions we experience when the power goes out, cooking and eating are definitely high up on the list for most annoying. Whether you are cooking a meal for yourself and your family, or preparing a scrumptious dinner for the four-legged members of your family, a gas stove goes a long way in cooking and boiling hearty dishes.
There are many different variations available – from small single plate stoves to larger hobs that can take on more cooking, you’re sure to find an affordable gas stove that fits perfectly into your kitchen.
2. Portable Thermo Cooler
Frozen and refrigerated foods are at risk of going off when the power goes off for long periods of time. If you have a gas fridge or freezer, count yourself lucky. If not, a portable thermo cooler is your next best option. This handy gadget is not only great for camping, it’s also the ideal solution for load shedding. Simply plug it into your uninterruptible power supply or your car, and it will do the rest of the work in keeping your foods fresh. The great thing about these coolers is that most of them run off 12v, meaning they only use a small amount of electricity.
3. Surge Protector Plug
If you’re wondering if surge protectors work against load shedding, here’s your answer. Ranging between R200 and R300 for a single socket, a surge protector plug is essential during the unpredictable power cuts of load shedding. Electrical appliances take a lot of strain during many stages of power cuts we go through according to the various schedules.
There are usually electrical surges that happen when the power comes back on, and these are at risk of damaging your electronics. A surge protector plug will eradicate the risks of electrical surges by ensuring that the electrical load is eased back onto your appliances. So ultimately, a surge protector plug may not give you power, but it will protect your appliances from getting damaged.
4. Solar Or Battery-Powered Lighting
One way to make sure you aren’t left in the dark when the power goes out is to invest in solar lights or battery-powered lights. If you live in an area that receives plenty of sunshine, solar lighting is ideal for your convenience, and more importantly, your safety. If you’d prefer battery-powered lighting, you’ll have many options available to you, such as torches, LED light strips, and lanterns. Shine a light on your lighting situation during load shedding with these alternatives.
5. Power Bank
Your cellphone lights don’t have to be in sync with the lights run by the electrical grid. Keep your cell (and other small appliances) running by getting yourself a power bank. They are light, compact, and easy to charge when you do have power. Charge them to their maximum capacity and you’ll be okay if load shedding strikes unexpectedly when your phone’s battery is almost dead.
A generator is a worthy investment for a South African if it fits into their budget. They come in different sizes with various power outputs, but most of them can power more than just your cellphone or laptop. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure that the fuel and/or oil tank of your generator is full and ready to run when load shedding is implemented.
Inverters aren’t spoken about as much as generators or UPS systems, but they are extremely useful. An inverter will convert direct current electricity to alternating current electricity. If you have invested in a generator, buying an inverter will go a long way in reducing the noise level of your generator, and helping it run longer by controlling the amount of power output that gets released.
8. Uninterruptible Power Supply
Otherwise known as a UPS, an uninterruptible power supply is capable of charging a number of essential appliances, depending on how powerful it is. If you want to keep appliances such as your TV, laptop, or Wi-Fi running when the power goes out, a UPS is the answer. The great thing about these nifty devices is that their batteries will start re-charging as soon as the power comes back on and you’re back on the electrical grid. If you’re interested in buying one, these are the best UPS’s to get you through load shedding.
While power cuts may be an inevitable reality for the foreseeable future, there are devices that can be used to continue power supply during load shedding. The essential gadgets above will make the darker times easier to endure.