Your load shedding survival guide

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Be informed – Stick your load-shedding schedule to the fridge so everyone can plan for outages. Have your cellphone handy and charged, especially if you rely on a cordless phone which will be inoperable during an outage. Ensure laptops and tablets are also fully charged.

Don’t be left in the dark – Use LED globes with rechargeable battery backup so you can connect globes to a battery to provide enough light for necessary activities. Keep oil lamps, torches and solar- or battery-powered lights handy in multiple, accessible locations. Ensure they are charged and stock up on spare batteries.

Remember creature comforts – Fill a thermos flask with boiling water before the blackout so you can enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee. Fridge and freezer supplies will last overnight without power if you avoid opening and closing them repeatedly. If your budget allows, buy a portable generator and ensure everyone in the family can use it safely. Test it monthly and store a week’s fuel.

Security first – Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates rely on electricity, so ensure they have good back-up batteries. If your alarm system does not have a battery, consider purchasing a battery-operated mobile panic button linked to a reputable emergency response company. Remember outages cause security systems to go offline, which may affect your insurance in the event of a burglary.

“It is a condition in most insurance policies that a house alarm has to be activated at all times when the home is not occupied. So, if a house is burgled during a power cut, then, theoretically, the customer would not benefit from any burglary cover as the alarm would be rendered inoperative. However, if you have a home contents policy… Dial Direct applies principles of fairness and equity when processing such a claim,” said Dial Direct spokesperson John October.

“Should a customer have an accident because of ineffective traffic lights caused by a power cut, the client would also enjoy cover. That said, a duty is placed on the shoulders of the customer to exercise more caution when driving in areas affected by power cuts. Be extra vigilant as visibility will be poor, and always treat a traffic light that is not working like a four-way stop.”

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