How to Survive Load Shedding  

 Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) helps protect homes and businesses during load shedding 

Load shedding is becoming a daily reality in South Africa, and is not only affecting businesses and essential services, but all of us in our homes. 

 Riaan de Leeuw, VP for IT Division – Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric, says it is therefore crucial to protect our homes and businesses against sudden loss of power or surges.  

 This is particularly true of small to medium-sized businesses, who are more at risk due to their limited ability to maintain security and generate revenue during downtime,’ he says. 

And while many people are turning to generators to get them through load shedding, soaring petrol prices mean this is an expensive and not very eco-friendly way to go. However, for both homes and businesses, a Uninterrupted Power Supply  (UPS) can protect businesses against downtime, he adds.  

 Uninterrupted Power Supply solutions protect and save the electronic equipment we rely on so heavily, and are scalable according to different needs, says de Leeuw. 

For example, an Uninterrupted Power Supply for basic home use, will allow a WIFI router to run, cell phone chargers to operate, and the safe shut down of a single PC, below 500watts. 

For advanced home, or basic small office use, there are solutions that will enable a TV and or decoder or game console and surround sound to run. Users would also be able to keep the lights on, if connected to the DB board, and are between 1000 and 3000 watts. In this instance, runtime would be dependent on additional external batteries and physical load. 

 For a basic small or home office, there are solutions that will allow between one and five PCs to run, with monitors and the router or switch to allow connectivity. He adds that it is advisable to connect printers to an Uninterrupted Power Supply due to power spike during start-up. Again, users could run between 1000 and 5000 watts, depending on extra batteries and the physical load. 

There are also solutions to cover advanced small to medium use, which would include one to 20 PCs with monitors, the server, router or switch, and lights if connected to the DB board. While you would have between 5000 and 20000 watts, the same rules apply in terms of batteries and load. 

According to him, Uninterrupted Power Supply offers guaranteed power protection for connected electronics, which ensures businesses can keep their doors open and maintain contact with partners and customers. Remember, keeping Wi-Fi up and running rather than having to rely on cellular data during load shedding gives you a better chance of staying online, for longer. 

Should power be interrupted, or fluctuate outside safe levels, an Uninterrupted Power Supply instantly provides clean battery backup power and surge protection for sensitive equipment, giving enough time to safely power down non-essential devices and keep critical business operations up and running. It will also provide battery backup power and protection for equipment such as TVs security systems, gaming consoles and mobile devices. 

When selecting the right Uninterrupted Power Supply solution for your needs, consider that an Uninterrupted Power Supply should have an output watt capacity 20-25% higher than the total power drawn by any attached equipment, cautions de Leeuw. Moreover, runtime is important, giving an indication as to how long an Uninterrupted Power Supply will be able to power its attached equipment in the event of a power disruption. 

Lastly, he advises testing all equipment by unplugging the Uninterrupted Power Supply periodically to make sure all attached equipment stays powered. 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN LOAD-SHEDDING SURVIVAL GUIDE 
Load shedding is back and causing mayhem in South African homes once again. But with some good old fashioned maak ‘n plan it’s possible to avoid, or to mitigate, most of the problems.   Gumtree’s Estelle Nagel says there are many items which will make life without Eskom so much better and, if money is tight, you can get them all online second-hand at great savings.  
  • Gas stove – Gumtree price range R200 to R1000: A camping stove and a small gas bottle will keep the kitchen going during the blackouts – Gumtree price range R400 to R1000 
  • A gas braai – Gumtree price range R1500 to R6000:  Something to fire up quickly for emergency cooking 
  • Rechargeable LED lights – Gumtree price range R100 to R1500: They last for hours which means no messy candles or searching for batteries to get the flashlight working. 
  • Powerbank – Gumtree price range R300 to R500: With our addiction of cellphones, two and a half hours can feel like days, so get some power-banks which ensure that your phone is charged.
  • Portable high-speed hotspot – Gumtree price range R450: A hotspot means you stay connected without chewing up data.  
  • Entertainment – Gumtree price range R50 to R1000: Boardgames are fun and help pass the time while the TV and the internet doesn’t work. 
  • Small generator – Gumtree price range R1000 to R8000: with a domestic-scale generator you can stay powered up all the time (but make sure you get a qualified electrician to install it).

Source: Schneider Electric

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