Well, that certainly came out of nowhere, huh? One day we’re enjoying a nice quiet weekend, the next thing we know the lights are off and Eskom is trying to explain how six generators break down without any warning.
Thankfully this week the lights managed to stay on (for most of us), but I get the rather unsettling feeling that we haven’t seen the last of darkness, our old friend.
Seeing as it’s been almost a decade since we last had to put up with this nonsense, I thought it best to refresh everyone’s memory and provide some tips on how to manage when the lights go out.
The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out the load-shedding schedule. Thankfully, this is pretty easy to do.
BCM has made the complete schedule for stages one to three – apparently they were never provided a stage four schedule by Eskom – available online as well as a complete breakdown of which areas belong to which “block”.
Another option is to download the popular EskomSePush app for Android and iOS which sends you push notifications when load-shedding is announced. The app is free which is a nice bonus.
Now that you’re appropriately forewarned, it is time to get forearmed. You’re going to need light, and plenty of it. The cheapest option is probably candles which you can keep in key rooms of your house and light when needed.
However, just be sure to keep them somewhere where they can’t easily fall or set something else alight. No need to add a house fire to your list of problems.
Torches are bit more expensive as are the batteries to keep them powered but they are undoubtedly safer. Make sure to have one or two in easy-to-reach places so you’re not left scrambling around once the lights go out.
Apart from light, your other issue is food or rather where it is stored. While load-shedding is planned so most blocks only go off for two hours at a time, some areas can go eight hours or more without power.
At this point, your refrigerators may begin to strain and put your food at risk. Now obviously you can’t do much with no power, but you can help your fridge last as long as possible by keeping it closed.
If you do need to get something out, try and remember where it is beforehand so you don’t spend too long searching. The more cold air that’s allowed to escape, the sooner your fridge will become warm and the sooner your food will begin to spoil.
You should also make sure your phones are charged regularly, so you’re not caught unaware. You’ll also want to avoid using it as much as possible so as not to drain the battery. This means no social media or gaming. Yes, it will be tough, but in times like this we all need to make sacrifices.
The fact that we have to be having this discussion at all, is infuriating and a sign of just how far back corruption and state capture have pulled us as a country.
Hopefully it’s something that will be fixed soon but until then, we should keep planning ahead – just in case.