Load Shedding: How to Prepare for Extended Power Outages
The time has come to plan for the possibility that load shedding might be extended further than a few days here and there.
With no solution in sight, load shedding might not be just the new normal, it is expected that sometime in the future we may experience extended period of load shedding that could possibly last longer than a week. Scary thought but one we should all keep in mind and plan for whether it happens or not.
Solidariteit.co.za / Kragdag have put together a 2-week emergency plan that certain government departments are already considering and that you might want to put into action, well... just in case the worst does happen. Below is an outline of the emergency plan and you can make of it what you will. I, on the other hand, have already started ongoing preparations since the beginning of the Covid outbreak.
We rely heavily on municipal electrical supply, unless the property is located with access to natural gas, and our lifestyle revolves around access to power for cooking, cleaning, heating and cooling. Plus, we use electricity for our home safety and security including communication.
- A generator/inverter, gas appliances, solar power. Using a UPS won't be much help here because it relies on electricity to charge. A conventional petrol generator will also be useless if you need to power electronic or sensitive decides.
- Stock up on fuel and replenish continuously so that you are not without. Safe storage is a given.
Municipalities around the country rely on electricity to power water pumping stations. Without power we can expect the reservoirs to run dry within a couple of days.
- Based on 5 litres of potable water per person, stock up on fresh water stored in clean tanks or bottles. For a family of four for 7 days the total water consumed would be 140 litres.
- Fresh water should be stored in a cool, dark place and replaced regularly. Put bottles of water in empty spaces in your fridge.
- In the event of a longer period without electricity, consider stocking up with water purification tablets that can be purchased at pharmacies around the country.
- Shower instead of bathing and be conscious of how much water you use in the home.
Food and Necessities
Supermarkets and grocers will, hopefully, plan for such an eventuality and many will have an independent generator to continue to operate. However, over an extended period, demand may outstrip supply and deliveries will be delayed or non-existent until the power is restored.
- Stock up on canned foods and non-perishables. Purchase longer-lasting fruit such as apples and oranges and store these in a cool place. Restock as and when required. Plan for at least a 2-week supply.
- Select foods that are easy to prepare on an outdoor braai, gas grill or gas stovetop.
- Stock up on hygiene products such as toilet rolls, etc.
Safety and Security
Any safety and security systems on a home can only operate for a maximum of 3 days on battery power. Consider outdoor lighting, electric fencing and electronic doors.
- Ensure that you have additional batteries available in the event of load shedding in excess of 3 days.
- Take the time to know your neighbours and sign up with your local neighbourhood watch or discuss with your neighbours how to manage safety and securing in your surrounding area.