Loadshedding is back  – and so are the power surges and cold food that South Africans have had to get used to over the years

Eskom recently announced Stage 1 and 2 of rotational loadshedding which has been reported to take place from 09:00 and could go up to 22:00 in the evening. When the loadshedding stages increase, so does the frequency of the rotational power cuts. This has a replica impact in increased risk of damage to sensitive electronic items due to power surges, fires and crime as a result of security systems not operating properly.

Marius Steyn, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Santam says South Africans need to mitigate the damages caused by loadshedding by being prepared prior to power going off.

“The reality is loadshedding has an immense impact on consumers and businesses alike – who must cope with the damage to appliances brought on by power surges or risk loss through theft, burglary as a result of faulty security systems,” said Steyn.

Steyn cautions consumers and provides things to consider mitigating risks that may be caused by power cuts:

Ensure that your alarm system is in a working condition and the back-up battery is fully functional to provide power to the system in the event of loadshedding.

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Spare torch or headlamp: Keep a torch in your car, if you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphones also have a built-in torch or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages.

Emergency contact information: Save emergency contact information on your phone, but also keep a paper copy safe and accessible. This should include the emergency services such as fire department, police and medical services. Also include contact information of friends and family along with insurance information.

Full battery mobile phone in a desktop.
Copyright: David Molina (123RF.com)

Charge your cell phone, laptop and tablet: Ensure your cellphone, laptop and tablet devices are fully charged ahead of scheduled blackouts. Be sure to charge them again as soon as possible after the power returns. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency phone charger (like a power bank) close by: this comes in handy during extended power outages.

Gas for cooking and lighting: Get a small LP gas bottle and lamp. It gives good quality lighting for a large area and can also be used for cooking and boiling water. It’s a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flask so that you can make hot drinks, also consider preparing meals beforehand if you know when there’s going to be a scheduled blackout.

Frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during a power outage

Keep bottled water: Keeping emergency water stored is easy when frozen. This frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during a power outage and will also not spoil.

Unplug your cables: Consider any electrical connection as live during a power outage as power can return at any time. Unplug any electronic devices or equipment or switch it off at the wall, including telephone cables. This is due to the surges in power that may occur when electricity is restored.

Make use of surge protection: Electric surges are one of the biggest causes of damage to equipment during a power outage. Installing a surge protection device can help minimise some damage in unforeseen situations. Have a surge protection device fitted to you electrical distribution board or alternatively at the power outlet to the electronic device.

Back up your data: It is always important to back up data, make it a priority to save your data offsite, in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault. Online “cloud-based” backups are very convenient and are mostly automated, which means that you have one less thing to worry about.

To see your area’s loadshedding schedule, click here