7 affordable ways to fight Eskom’s load shedding

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.

Emergency light
Emergency light

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.

Solar emergency lamp
Solar emergency lamp

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.

Powerbank
Powerbank

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.

Cadac gas stove
Cadac gas stove

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.

UPS
UPS

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.

Power inverter
Power inverter

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.

Generator
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.

Solar kit
Solar kit

There are also cheaper solar kits available, suitable for lighting solutions.

Solar panel kit
Solar panel kit

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7 affordable ways to fight Eskom’s load shedding