It’s 6pm in the middle of winter, daylight is already gone, and you have just sat down to start planning dinner or catch up on the latest Game Of Thrones, and then… load shedding!
What do you do? Most resort to posting their annoyance on social media, some try and calculate the remaining battery power on their phones or laptops, while others collapse in a fit of jealousy as they hear the neighbour’s generator switch on.
According to a recent disclosure by Eskom, the commercial operation date for the first unit at Kusile power station has been delayed by a year from mid 2016 to mid 2017. Medupi and Kusile are now only expected to be fully on stream delivering commercial power into the grid by 2019 and 2020 respectively – both years behind schedule.
This means South Africa will need to brace itself for an indefinite continuation of power shortages and load shedding. Here are some options on how to prepare your home for load shedding survival.
1. Install gas to the home
– Gas Stoves
Switching your stove and oven to gas is a worthwhile investment. You will be able to prepare meals during power outages which will more often than not, be right on dinner time.
– Alternative uses for gas
Gas can also be used for heating your geyser.
A gas fireplace can be a very cozy addition to the home which will provide both heat and natural light.
2. Solar Power
There are options for solar power installation that can power your entire home or there are more affordable options to power selective elements in your home such as your geyser.
Solar power might seem costly to install, however the benefit is that this cost eventually saves you money in the long run as your monthly household electricity bill is drastically reduced.
Solar energy is widely believed to be the most environmentally friendly form of power supply.
How does it work? Solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, convert sunlight into electricity. Because they are made up of individual solar panels, PV systems can be flexibly designed to meet most electrical requirements, both large and small. Systems are said to be “grid- connected” when they remain plugged into the local utility. Grid-connected PV systems may have a battery back-up system, but most do not. Battery back-up is typically used for off- grid systems and provides power at night when the sun is not shining. Grid-connected systems rely on their utility to provide power at night. The diagram below illustrates a basic PV system installation. Maintenance requirements for PV systems are minimal. The best way to ensure a PV system is working well is to install a monitoring device that tracks the electricity output of the system.
Batteries, also known as inverters, charge themselves while the power is still on, there are also options on solar powered batteries. When the power cuts, the battery automatically kicks in and powers selective areas in the home.
The number of batteries you need to install depends on the size of your home and the amount of appliances you wish to power. This means that using batteries can be an affordable option for smaller homes or a costly option for larger homes. Batteries also need to be maintained and replaced every few years.
4. Join the generator club
They might be noisy, but generators are the most popular choice among South Africans for load shedding survival. This is because they are the most cost effective and easy to install option. They are also readily available with ample companies offering options on generators for homes and businesses.
Fix My Life is an innovative South African company and downloadable App that makes installing your choice of power simple and easy. This service compares quotes and finds the closest, best priced, approved supplier and product for any service or maintenance you require and sends them to your door right away if you are happy with what you have found. The service is safe, reliable and makes decision making easy. If you have the load shedding blues, try them out today and Fix Your Life!