Home owners are not taking enough steps to minimize their risk of damage and loss to property‚ even though load shedding is going to be a part of our day-to-day lives for the foreseeable future‚ according to a survey.
A majority – 63% – of people surveyed do not switch off their appliances before load shedding to prevent power surge damage to them when the power comes on again‚ according to the survey‚ done on behalf of insurance company Santam.
Almost a third of respondents said that their appliances had been damaged as a result of load shedding.
Only 21% make use of generators‚ but of these‚ a full 30% are not sure that their generators are SABS certified and properly connected.
The survey also found that many South Africans make use of alternative light sources that are potentially a fire risk – 65% of the respondents used candles‚ 24% used gas lamps and 18% made use of paraffin lamps.
“Opportunistic crime as a result of security systems not operating properly has also increased‚” said Marius Neethling‚ Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Santam. He urged households to take extra precautions to manage their risk.
“The survey revealed that whereas many people have alarms that work with batteries‚ many do not and live with the hope that nothing serious will happen while they are in the vulnerable state of not having electricity. People also often do not test the batteries of their alarm systems regularly to see that they are functioning properly.”
Tips to minimise damage and loss during load shedding:
- Invest in solar‚ camping‚ battery operated or LED lights‚ which are much safer than candles or paraffin lamps.
- Generators: Make sure your generator is professionally installed‚ and never store more than 20 litres of fuel in your house. Test your generator frequently‚ and remember to have a fire extinguisher of at least 4.5kg on site.
- Surge protection: You can buy a surge protector for your electric mains board‚ as well as surge protector plug adaptors‚ at most leading hardware stores. Surge protectors should be installed by a certified electrician.
So how did survey respondents feel about load shedding? The words used were: “Frustrated‚ angry‚ irritated and annoyed”.