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Risk of power surge damage increases threefold during stage 4 load-shedding

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

South Africans are between 108% and 130% more likely to submit power surge insurance claims after experiencing a spike in voltage after load-shedding.

This is according to Discovery Insure, which on Wednesday warned that the risk of power surge damage increased threefold during stage 4 load-shedding.

Discovery Insure’s Kgodiso Mokonyane said recent claims data revealed clients “are between 108% and 130% more likely to submit a power surge insurance claim after experiencing a spike in voltage after a load-shedding event”.

These claims are directly impacting household costs, with many clients having to claim for the replacement of expensive appliances damaged during load-shedding.

South Africans have experienced load-shedding for 15 years, with scheduled power cuts first implemented in 2007 as part of a plan to support Eskom in managing power supply issues.

“A major surge can cause more permanent damage instantly, but smaller disruptions typically tend to shorten the ‘lifespan’ of a device or appliance over a longer period.”

How to protect your appliances against damage:

  • Disconnect electrical devices and appliances from the plug source when not in use, when load-shedding commences, and during an electrical storm. This will help to save your valuables, reduce the likelihood of damage and even conserve valuable energy.
  • Be careful not to overload your power outlets, especially those appliances that use high amounts of electricity. Computers, laptops, widescreen TVs, internet modems and routers should ideally not be plugged into the same power outlet as they use a lot of energy and have sensitive circuit boards. Items such as air-conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators should also have their own dedicated plug source or power strip.
  • Make use of surge protectors for your electric mains board and plug adapters. These divert excess energy into the grounding wire built into the protector unit when a surge occurs instead of allowing it to flow into the circuit into which your valuables are plugged. Surge plug adapters are a simple solution that you can implement yourself, but protectors which need to be installed on your DB boards should be done by a certified electrician.
  • Consider purchasing a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). This is useful for protecting your internet or fibre connections, as well as electronics such as a modem and router. It also allows you to be able to continue using your computerised devices during load-shedding.

TimesLIVE


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