In recent times the country has been experiencing power outages of various stages, affecting the daily activities of households and businesses. With the current challenges that Eskom is facing, indications are, load shedding, as these power interruptions have come to be known, may continue for some time.
Young people, particularly learners and those who have started working, carry the brunt of the power outages as they cannot do school work in the dark nor deliver on employer targets. As they say: “Without electricity our lives are empty.”
According to Menzi Nkosi, an engineer from Ekurhuleni, load shedding is a necessary step that has to be taken by Eskom to avoid a total blackout throughout the country.
“When Eskom invokes the various stages of load shedding, the company is in fact saving us from a major catastrophe as a country. These power outages are a means to balance the demand and supply of electricity. Eskom engages the load shedding gear in cases where the demand is higher than what the national grid can produce,” says Nkosi.
But as with all situations in life, young people and their families have a number of tools to cope with load shedding. Following are some of them.
- Use solar energy and alternative sources of energy. Families have the option to use energy from the sun to heat the house, have lights, charge appliances like cell phones and do other things which would normally be impossible without electricity. Many parts of South Africa have abundant sunshine and this natural resource can be harnessed to make our lives easier. The bonus is that such renewable energy is also friendlier to the environment than coal generated electricity.
- Do your homework whilst the sun shines. Young people, particularly leaners are advised to do their homework as soon as they return from school. They should not wait for the evening to do school work. It is said that make hay while the sun shines.
- Families are advised to invest in a gas stove. This is a safe and affordable option that could ensure that the family does not go hungry when the lights are off. The good thing is that the family can also get a portable gas stove which can be taken everywhere.
- Young people are also advised to use empty plastic cool drink bottles and fill them with water and place in your deep freeze. According to EWN, if the power is out for a long time, people can take them out and put them in your fridge to keep food cold until the power comes back on. It also will create extra freezing in the deep freeze to keep meats from thawing.
- Families are also advised to invest in torches, lamps, lanterns and other battery operated lights to keep at strategic areas around the house and yard. Whilst candles are also a viable option, they are not as safe as the battery powered lights.
- Whilst it may seem a bit costly, depending on size, a generator is a good idea for a family that wants to survive the spells of load shedding.
- Invest in reliable car chargers for the cell phones and other electronic gadgets. It is a good idea to charge these gadgets to capacity whilst driving.
- A head torch or cap always comes in handy in such situations. These are idea for lighting your way and walking around the house or yard when it is dark.
- Have emergency lights installed at strategic places in the house and yard. These switch on automatically when the power goes off.
- Keep abreast with the news so that you may have information on load shedding schedules. This will enable you to plan your day and night ahead.