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About to blow a fuse over load-shedding? Nine tips to ease your pain

Power surges during load-shedding can damage appliances. Stock photo.
Power surges during load-shedding can damage appliances. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Weerapat Kiatdumrong

Traffic gridlock, low water pressure, cold meals and colder showers are some of the unpleasant side effects of rolling blackouts imposed by Eskom.

Load-shedding was taken to an unprecedented stage 6 on Monday evening as the power utility struggled to keep the lights on.

Social media has been awash with frustrated residents across the country venting their anger over the ongoing power cuts and their effects on daily life.

Here are handy tips to help you navigate through the power cuts, shared by the city of Cape Town and Old Mutual iWYZE.

• Switch off and unplug electronics and appliances before the power is due to go off. There may be a spike in the voltage when it comes back on, which can damage electronic devices such as computers and television sets.

• Keep some cash on you as ATMs may not be operational.

• Ensure your cellphone, laptop, tablet and radio are fully charged when power is available. This will allow you to communicate with friends and family during load-shedding.

• If you do not have a gas stove, prepare meals before the power is scheduled to be switched off. Boil water in your kettle and keep it in thermos flasks for hot drinks. You can also use an insulating cover on teapots, pots and pans to keep drinks and meals warm

• Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling, but you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt.

• Backup batteries for electrically operated gates, garage doors and security systems should be kept in a good working condition and be able to last through periods of load-shedding. Store temporary lighting such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark.

• Try to ensure your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages.

• Freeze empty plastic cool drink bottles while your electricity is on. Once the power goes off, place these in your fridge to keep it from warming up. 

• Check your insurance policy. Does it cover the contents of your fridge? If it does, make sure you understand the terms and conditions and that you keep all your supermarket receipts should you have to claim after prolonged blackouts.

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