Winter Load Shedding Survival Guide

Jacques du Rand 2022-05-23

It's been about 14 years that we've been enduring the dreaded power cuts known as load shedding in South Africa. Unfortunately, it would seem that they are with us to stay. Like an old family handed-down ball-and-claw half-moon table you can't rid yourself of.

The only way to be like all those smug people that live on the parliament grid in Cape Town (and never go off) is to rid yourself of Eskom once and for all and go solar. The immediate outlay of funds can be quite hefty (around R75,000 for a 2-3 bed household) but so worth it in the long run to to turn your back on them and wave goodbye. But, if you can't afford that expense, don't worry, as we have some tips for you to help make load shedding time a little more bearable this winter.

Prepare You Must

There is no escape, and winter load shedding is the worst. Sitting in the cold and dark waiting for the lights to come on is as inevitable as queuing at a Clicks pharmacy counter.

By now (after fourteen years!) we'd hope that you've made some things a little easier for yourself, but if you've held on to that glimmer of hope all this time that things were going to get better, here are some survival tips for you, or any newbies, to survive load shedding life.

  1. Stay online - We've written a few articles to help you at least stay connected during power outs. If you do nothing else, read this article to at least keep your internet running during load shedding.
  2. Keep the lights on - there are a few options these days. Everything from battery (or solar) powered light strips which you can stick to your wall, ceiling or floor to smart light bulbs that do not require electricity to work. Smart light bulbs are rechargeable and you can add them into any normal light fitting. They charge during the day, or when connected to electricity, and you can switch them on or off as and when needed for 4-6 hours of light. Great for camping too as they can be fully mobile.

  3. Cooking with gas - campers have been doing this for a very long time and you can easily acquire a whole range of outdoor appliances/gas cookers for these occasions from your local camping/outdoor store.
  4. Braai time, all the time - Of course if you don't want to invest in additional gas canisters for cooking, there is always the good old trusty braai. You can do a lot on the fire, from boiling water, making food and even dessert. Gas might just be quicker and cleaner, but a braai brings some ambience.
  5. Keep the heat - gas heaters work incredibly well, but popular sizes (like the 9kg) can run out quickly during mid-winter months and you might be without gas for easily up to a month. In order to avoid this, consider purchasing two and keep them on rotation. As one runs out, replace it so you always have two. One running, and one as backup just in case there is a shortage (which there always is!) then you'll at least have one to see you through until new stock is available.
  6. Cinema night - Can't bear to watch your favourite series on your laptop, tablet or phone? Get a power independent projector. It will be nice and dark, so it is an ideal time to make your own cinema night and not have to worry about finding a powersource for the TV.

    A must have device for loadshedding, is of course a UPS specially geared for your fibre and wifi router to keep the power on !

  7. Backup batteries - In case you've forgotten to charge your phone or laptop, or even if you did, on longer load shedding periods we can all do with a bit of a power boost. Turn to a UPS (just remember to charge it when you have electricity!) Many of the newer models have USB slots now to charge your devices conveniently.
  8. Don't be without security - Modern alarm & CCTV systems do have backup power batteries to keep running during power outs. Be sure to test them annually to see that they are still functioning properly so you have them when you need them.

Unfortunately sometimes ISPs might be affected by a power out too, and if that is the case, you might go down - but there is a way around this! If you're running a business or just can't bear the thought of this happening, you could invest in a standalone LTE device that you can switch to during load shedding - or when your ISP might be affected.

Unfortunately there is only one power provider in South Africa (unless you go solar), but at least Fibre Tiger can help you with options to pick or switch ISP and LTE providers.