Eskom’s load shedding is here to stay. Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said on 14 May that load shedding is expected to continue for at least three more years.
The on-and-off strike action at the Medupi power station and continued delays at Eskom’s build programs at Medupi and Kusile may well extend the need for load shedding beyond 3 years.
The best solution is obviously a solar installation coupled with Elon Musk’s new Tesla Powerwall. However, not everyone has Anton Rupert as a father.
Advice like keeping your smartphone, laptop, and tablet charged and planning your day around load shedding schedules also does little to mitigate the impact of not having electricity.
The good news is that there are many ways to lessen the pain of load shedding without having to break the bank.
Here are some of the affordable ways to make your life easier during load shedding.
Emergency lights – R199
Emergency lights have built-in batteries, and switch on automatically when the power goes off.
There are many varieties, which are available from around R100 each.
For those looking for a solution which uses solar energy, there is the option of a solar emergency lamp. A Eurolux product costs R529 at Makro.
Power banks for your smartphone and tablet – R169
Portable power banks allow you to charge your smartphone and tablet via a USB charger when the power goes off.
Power bank prices differ significantly based on capacity (measured in mAh) and brand, and start at around R100 for an entry-level product.
Gas cooker – R549
Running an electric stove on backup power during load shedding is not sustainable. The best option is to move to gas.
A simple gas stove can cost under R300, and allows you to fry some eggs and bacon and heat up some baked beans during load shedding.
Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) – R999
An uninterruptible power supply makes it possible for you to run some of your electronic equipment like an ADSL router and laptop during load shedding.
This means you will stay connected during a power outage. The price of a UPS depends on its capacity, measured in VA, and starts from a few hundred rand.
Power Inverter system – R7,499
Many companies sell power inverter systems which offer enough electricity to power a few appliances during load shedding.
Many of these systems are portable, which means it can be used when and where the power goes off. Pricing differs based on the quality and capacity of the system.
Diesel or petrol generator – R4,299
If you want to run many appliances for a few hours during a power outage, the most affordable option is a petrol or diesel generator.
There are many options, including super-quiet generators from manufacturers like Honda and Yamaha. The price is dependent on the generation capacity, brand, and the type of generator.
Solar power solution – R4,366
The price of solar power products has declined rapidly in recent years, and you can get solar panels for as little as a few hundred rand.
These solar panels can be combined with a battery and inverter system to provide power during load shedding at night.
There are also cheaper solar kits available, suitable for lighting solutions.