Can We Survive Without Electricity?
I decided to write this article after reading about the depth of trouble we may be in if Eskom shuts off the power for more than a few hours, perhaps days, or even weeks; can we survive without electricity during this time?
I am an Ostrich, and by that I mean I bury my head in the sand and try to ignore everything bad that is going on around me. I'm not embarrassed by this fact, I just don't like reading or watching anything that makes me realise how far we could sink if Eskom failed to provide the services for which is it intended. Perhaps, deep down, I've always been what is referred to as 'A Prepper'- a person who thinks about how we would survive when the sh** hits the fan! And with this in mind, I decided to do some research on what would happen if, indeed, we are without power for an extended period.
Rethinking Your Lifestyle
For most of us, electricity is an essential service - it's what powers everything around us. Removing electricity from our homes would mean rethinking our lifestyle so that we could plan how to function without it daily.
Give the lack of electricity some thought. What would we do without electricity to run items in our homes? We use electricity to switch on the lights, heat water, keep food fresh, and for our day-to-day lives. We have come to rely on electricity so much for everyday tasks that we would be lost without it.
For South Africans, load shedding has given us a small insight into what our lives are like without power; houses in darkness, not being able to cook unless you have gas, no hot water, and so on. Imagine this scenario for days or even weeks on end.
We need to understand that no electricity in our homes means we investigate alternative solutions, solutions that let us live off the grid for however long a time we need to, because, according to The South African, "It's hard to fathom just how disastrous Eskom has been this year. But whatever your worst fears are, the utility may well surpass them", and we need to be realistic about the situation.
Plan For Any Eventuality
Now that we know what could be on the cards for the future, it's time to take matters in hand and look at how we can be better prepared for what may come. First, consider that it's not just your home that may be affected by power cuts or load shedding; it's also businesses that you rely on every day. While most larger shopping centres have an alternate power supply, smaller centres don't. That means you could struggle to get cash out of the ATM, or be able to pay for your purchases at the till when using a card. You need to think at a very basic level..."If the power is out - what will be affected by this?"
Street lights and traffic robots will be out, leaving you and your home in a vulnerable situation, and even if you have a generator for standby power, make sure to stock up and have plenty of fuel on hand in the eventuality that you can't go out and that petrol stations might not be operational. This is, of course, a worst-case scenario, but not one that is so unrealistic that it couldn't happen.
Stock Up Your Home
Stock up your supplies with items that you would normally think of only in a disaster situation - this could probably be just that! Bottled water, non-perishable supplies, tinned food - any items that don't need to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Also be sure to invest in items that will provide you with some comfort when the power is out, such as battery-operated lights (preferably LED), gas heating and cooking equipment, solar-powered alternatives, etc.
While it might be scary to think about it, acting on it will ensure that you are more comfortable and secure should the power go out for an extended period.
At the end of the day, everyone needs to look at how they can improve their lifestyle when off-the-grid. If the power is out you want you home and family to have a certain amount of normality, even if it is taking a step back in time. Humans survived for thousands of years without power but there are presently thousands of people who have reverted back to a time that endured without electricity. It might not be as comfortable, but eco-warriors and preppers show that this type of lifestyle is possible.