Cheapest backup power to get you through load-shedding

With South Africa’s current energy supply situation, wealthier households may be planning a switch to entirely off-grid power solutions to escape load-shedding, but a majority of South Africans cannot afford such products.

There are more cost-effective solutions available that can keep essential equipment running during a load-shedding session.

Eskom has announced stage 4 load-shedding until 05h00 on Saturday, and expects to reduce to stage 2 load-shedding for the remainder of the weekend until 05:00 on Monday.

Currently, load-shedding is scheduled in sessions of two hours with an additional 30 minutes to switch networks, and the frequency of sessions varies depending on the current stage.

One of the most cost-effective ways to weather a two-hour rotational blackout is a battery backup system that can charge when power is available and supply energy during an outage.

If your only aim is to keep your Internet online during load-shedding, a small UPS or power bank with a DC port will best fit your needs.

Larger UPSs can be used to power your Internet connection, as well as a PC or TV through a load-shedding session.

Power solutions for your entire house can be pricey — you can expect to pay more than R20,000 for a small load-shedding kit.

However, if you need to power a few essential appliances through a session of load-shedding, there are several small petrol generators available to fulfil your requirements.

There are several online tools available to estimate the power usage of your appliances and electrical equipment.

Several smaller UPSs suitable for powering your router and optical network terminal are listed below.

UltraLAN Micro UPS 8,800mAh — R470

SolarWize Mini Power Backup UPS for Modems & Routers — R528

Generic Mini DC UPS 12,000mAh — R560

Gizzu Mini DC PoE Ups 8,800mAh — R799

Generic Load shedding mini UPS 12V DC 2Amp — R1,069

Vizia WiFi UPS for Router 57,000mAh — R1,499

To power your TV or PC

The Covid-19 pandemic led to many South Africans working from home, and load-shedding sessions presents a major challenge to work-from-home productivity.

Larger UPSs are available at a range of prices depending on your needs. These UPSs can power your internet connection and a PC or TV for the majority, if not entirety, of a load-shedding session.

We have listed several larger UPS options below, and your needs will differ based on the power consumption of your router and TV or PC.

Proline 2,200VA Line Interactive UPS — R1,999

Powercom RAPTOR 2,000VA Line Interactive UPS — R1,999

Kstar 1,000VA Online Tower Ups — R2,999

RCT Winner Pro 1,000VA Online Tower UPS — R3,099 

Kstar 1,000VA Online Rack Ups — R3,499

T-202 Home Office 200W Portable Power Supply — R4,650

FSP Champ 2,000VA Online Ups — R4,695

Mecer Winner Pro 2,000VA On-Line Tower Ups — R5,099

To power more appliances

While they may produce a lot of noise, petrol generators are effective backup methods to power certain home appliances in addition to your router and computer.

Petrol generators are available in a range of sizes with varying power outputs. Even the larger generators listed below will not be able to power multiple power-hungry appliances with elements.

However, if your aim is to power some lights, your refrigerator, TV, and computers in addition to your Internet equipment, then a petrol generator can help you meet these needs.

It is important to take into the account the price of the petrol needed to power the generator, especially with the price exceeding R19 per litre.

Several generators of various sizes are listed below.

Ingco Petrol Generator 800W — R2,199

Casals 750W Recoil Start Generator — R2,299

Mac Afric Standby Petrol Generator (1.25 kVA) — R3,295

Mac Afric Standby Petrol Generator (2.8 kVA) — R4,295

Ryobi 4-Stroke Pull Start Generator RG-2700 (2.5kVA) — R5,200

Ryobi 4-Stroke Petrol Generator RG-3500 (3.5kVA) — R6,200

Now read: Amazon launches first solar power station in South Africa

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Cheapest backup power to get you through load-shedding