Load Shedding: How to protect your property
Cape Town - South Africa’s power utility Eskom announced stage 6 of rotational load shedding which has been taking place since Tuesday evening, due to a significant deterioration of its operations.
When the load shedding stages increases, so does the frequency of the rotational power cuts, which have a replica impact in increased risk of damage to sensitive electronic items due to power surges, fires and crime. Attie Blaauw, Head of Personal Lines Underwriting at Santam, says South Africans need to mitigate the damages caused by load shedding by being prepared prior to power going off.
“The reality is, load shedding has an immense impact on consumers and businesses alike – who must cope with the damage to appliances brought on by power surges and dips, as well as the increased crime-related risks as a result of faulty security systems,” said Blaauw.
Blaauw cautions consumers and provides things to consider to mitigate against risks that may be caused by power cuts:
- Make use of surge protection: Electric surges are one of the biggest causes of damage to equipment during a power outage. Installing a surge protection device can help minimise some damage in unforeseen situations. Have a surge protection device fitted to your electrical distribution board or alternatively at the power outlet to the electronic device.
- Ensure that your alarm system is in a working condition and the backup battery is fully functional to provide power to the system in the event of load shedding.
- Spare torch or headlamp: Keep a torch in your car, if you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphones have a built-in torch or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages.
- Emergency contact information: Save emergency contact information on your phone but also keep a paper copy safe and accessible. This should include contacts for emergency services such as the fire department, police and/or medical services. Also include the contact information of friends and/or family along with insurance information.
- Charge your cell phone, laptop and tablet: Ensure your cellphone, laptop and tablet devices are fully charged ahead of scheduled blackouts. Be sure to charge them again as soon as possible after the power returns. It's also a good idea to have an emergency phone charger (like a power bank) close by, this comes in handy during extended power outages.
- Gas for cooking and lighting: Get a small LP gas bottle and lamp. It gives good quality lighting for a large area and can also be used for cooking and boiling water. It's a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flask so that you can make hot drinks, also consider preparing meals beforehand if you know when there's going to be a scheduled blackout.
- Keep bottled water: Keeping emergency water stored is easy when frozen. This frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during a power outage and will also not spoil.
- Unplug your cables: Consider any electrical connection as live during a power outage as power can return at any time. Unplug any electronic devices or equipment or switch it off at the wall, including telephone cables. This is due to the surges in power that may occur when electricity is restored.
- Back up your data: It is always important to back up data in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault. Online "cloud-based" backups are very convenient and are mostly automated, which means that you have one less thing to worry about.
“Santam remains ready to assist policyholders with any claims resulting from power cuts,” said Blaauw.