Updated 17 December 2014

Load shedding: alternative power sources 101

You don't have to be hurling insults at Eskom when load shedding occurs. Keep your cool by being prepared.


Eskom is struggling to keep the country's lights on. A severely strained electricity supply is plunging the country in darkness – but it is not so much the darkness  that irks consumers. It is the inconvenience.

So let’s look at four ways to help . . . well prepare for the inconvenience stemming from the scheduled black outs that seem to go on and on.

Let there be light

There are several ways to light up your home when load shedding hits. You can choose from battery powered lamps to solar and gas alternatives.

Cell phone love

What will you do if your cell phone battery dies? The thought is enough to make you ill. It is simple. You can try to keep your phone fully charged at all times, but this is not such a good idea according to tech gurus, so here are some other options: have an extra battery on hand, charge your phone using your mobile car charger or via your laptop with a USB cable.

Hunger pangs creeping up?

The gas stove is your best friend or maybe your second best friend, considering that South Africa is a braai loving nation. Keep a two-plate gas stove in your home to continue cooking your daily planned meals or ask the guys to braai. A potjie will go down well too. Yum!


Watch a movie on your laptop or listen to some music on your iPad – that is if they are charged. And don't forget about the portable radio . . . who would have thought that the "wireless" would once again find a use! So go on and get yourself a wind-up radio.

Unfortunately there is nothing much you can do about dead traffic lights and closed shops or petrol stations; other than to give your lungs some clean oxygen by breathing in deeply for a loud scream. Feel better now?

Health24 tips

- Stock up on water. Large parts of Johannesburg was left without water as a result of the power outages not too long ago.

- Top up on your medicine chest. Keep you medical aid tool-kit close by and make sure that you have emergency and over the counter medical supplies.

- Know where your clinic and hospitals are. In cases of emergencies, hospitals makes use of generators, but do call and find out first.

What you need to know about load shedding

- Eskom applies three stages of load shedding:

Stage 1 allows for up to 1000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 2 allows for up to 2000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 3 allows for up to 4000 MW of the national load to be shed.

- Expect to be without electricity for 2.5 hours during the period 05:00 to 21:30.

- Stay in the loop about scheduled load shedding for your area.

- What we have observed: Anticipate load shedding over weekends.

Also read:

How to survive load shedding
Shedding the load or passing the buck?
Load shedding is your fault too


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