South Africans have already had to put up with load shedding this winter, with some in Johannesburg experiencing a few dark and cold nights.
This week, it was the Johannesburg CBD that was struck by load shedding – and showering in cold water is no joke. Also, knowing that you cannot cook a hot meal after work is a tough way to end your day.
Eskom warned of the possibility of load shedding last week as it attempted to stabilise its supply chain, which was interrupted by' protests. Workers at the utility are demanding a 9 percent salary hike, the parastatal is offering only 4.7 percent.
There are, however, ways to ensure that you are prepared when load shedding appears in your area:
1. Make sure everyone in your family, or the people you live with, are aware of the load shedding schedule so they can plan for power cuts.
2. Once you know the schedule, be sure to cook before load shedding kicks in. You should also aim to fill up flasks with boiling water for hot beverages.
3. Make sure all your gadgets are charged so you can still use your laptop or browse social media when the lights are out.
4. Fill plastic containers with water (still leaving some space inside each container for expansion during freezing) in a deep freeze or the freezer compartment of your fridge. This frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during power cuts.
5. Avoid opening your fridge frequently as this could keep your food fresh for at least a day.
6. Most alarm systems and garage doors rely on electricity, so make sure you have extra batteries to operate them. It is worthwhile to purchase a mobile panic button that runs off batteries and is linked to a reputable emergency response company.
7. If you have the funds, buying a portable generator is a good investment. Learn how to use your generator safely and test it monthly. Be sure to store enough fuel to run the generator for up to a week.