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Consumers Tips: Winter power cuts

Consumers Tips: Winter power cuts

Jun 30, 2014

Even while consumers in South Africa have been warned for some time that electrical outages may occur during periods of high usage, many are still caught off guard when the power goes. There are several things the average household can (and should) do in the event of a power failure, to maintain warmth and comfort, especially during winter.

Here are some tips:

  • First make sure a switch on your board hasn’t tripped. If it has tripped, unplug all items and plug them in one by one to see which is faulty. Have any faulty wiring or plugs checked at your first possibly opportunity – these can be extremely hazardous.
  • Keep torches and backup batteries in specific places that each family member knows about. The small “headlamp” camping torches are great for reading and for kids to have both hands free while walking around the home in the dark.
  • Buy an “air pot” from a kitchen goods retailer and fill it with boiling water so you can prepare baby food or tea and coffee while the power is off. Fill it in the morning and again in the evening.
  • As power outages often occur during peak electricity use (around 5pm), fill hot water bottles with boiling water early on and place them in your bed and your children’s beds.
  • Always make sure at least one cell phone in the household is fully charged, and has any emergency numbers programmed to speed dial.
  • Never leave candles or an open fire burning. Torches are far safer, especially when there are children in the home.
  • Store medications or special foods that must remain cold in a cooler bag if the power stays off for more than a few hours; and keep freezer packs frozen in your deep freeze for times like this.

Wherever possible, invest in products that will make your life easier when the power goes out. Have blankets and warm clothing handy for long, powerless winter nights, and possibly a gas heater or gel stove you can use for cooking. Speak to your local hardware dealer about solar inverters and other renewable energy sources you can install in your home to deal with an electricity cuts.

NOTE: will be featuring companies that offer renewable energy products to consumers and small businesses. Follow us on Twitter @AfricaEnvironmt and join us on Facebook for updates.

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