Quick tips to help you get comfortable during load shedding

In recent days, Eskom made a series of announcements regarding the ongoing load shedding and the future does not look bright at all, but here are some tips to get you through the dark(er) days.


Eskom chairperson, Mpho Makwana, has been relaying the information to the public in official press releases. In short, Eskom has a current deficit of 4 000 – 6 000 MW and without it, load shedding is here to stay – for at least 24 months if everything goes well! 

Makwana says, “Eskom is working hard to execute maintenance of the power station fleet to improve reliability of the generating units and to improve the energy availability factor. Planned maintenance, currently at 6 022MW (approximately 11% of installed capacity), is optimised during the summer months and will taper off towards the high demand winter period. This is to ensure maximum availability during the winter, to meet as much demand as possible.


In addition to the planned maintenance programme, Eskom is focusing on returning as much of the units with long-term breakdowns as possible. The target is to return about 6 000 MW of generating capacity onto the grid during the next 24 months.”

As a consumer, being reliant on Eskom, it would be unwise to wait on the power utility to sort out our energy woes.


Here’s what you can do for your household!


Lighting

Install a few ‘load shedding proof’ rechargeable light bulbs. These light bulbs have a small battery which charges when in use, while you have electricity. Once charged they will function normally during load shedding and have a running time of up to 3 hours.

Cost R80 – R120 each.

Cooking

LP Gas is a popular choice for cooking during load shedding, and is often the preferred cooking method for many chefs and restaurants. Apart from cooking it is also great for heating, cooling, lighting and many other applications. You will also find that LP Gas works out cheaper to use than electricity. If used correctly it burns clean which is less harmful to the environment than electricity. 

Although LP Gas is considered stable and safe to use, there are always risks involved. The most common risks are explosions, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.


You could alleviate these dangers by following these guidelines:

  • Always use gas in a well ventilated room.
  • If you smell gas, switch off the appliance in use and have it checked out.
  • Use a qualified technician to do regular maintenance on all your gas appliances – from cooktops to gas geysers!
  • Only use certified installers to install any gas appliances and make sure you receive a certificate of compliance upon installation.
  • Only refill or exchange your cylinders at authorised LP Gas dealers.
  • Don’t use old cylinders .
  • Always keep cylinders in an upright position, away from heat.
  • Never allow small children to use gas without adult supervision.

Battery backup for load shedding

A Sine Wave 1000W, 35Ah Lithium Inverter is a suitable solution for those with deeper pockets. Such a system could carry a load of at least 10 LED lights, a fan, TV and WiFi router for up to 24 hours.

It has its pro’s and con’s. A lead acid or gel battery has proven not to be ideal as the charge time is slow. With the current load shedding it is almost impossible to get a full charge between cycles. Considering that the battery should not be run on less than 50% capacity, it takes careful management to get the full potential life cycle out of these batteries.

A solution is Lithium Ion, but you will pay a hefty price for it. Lithium should last much longer with up to 3000 cycles before you will have to replace the battery.


Cost: -+ R6 500 – R12 000

While there is really no ideal solution to loadshedding, except installing a large and expensive solar system and going completely off the grid, these few things can make life a little more comfortable.