With the country’s electricity network currently taking heavy strain, load shedding will continue to be a reality for South Africans. Sadly, this means many more months of missing your favourite TV programmes or being left with half-cooked food in the dark. But did you know that load shedding doesn’t just affect you, but some of your personal possessions as well? Sudden and prolonged power outages pose a potential threat to your most prized belongings, some of which can be devastating.
You are probably taking comfort in your insurance policy to cover any loss and damages, however, you may find that you are not adequately covered for load shedding related risks. Let’s take a brief look at some of the perils of load shedding and what you can do to protect your personal assets and stay claim free.
The worst that can happen in the event of load shedding is a power surge. Power surges are caused by a spike in the electrical current when electricity is suddenly restored to the power lines. This may lead to serious damage such as short-circuit or malfunction in electronic equipment. Devices like your computer, fridge and television are especially vulnerable. The best way to avoid this is to unplug all electronic appliances before a blackout is due and switch them back on after the power supply returns. Additionally, you may also want to install a surge protection device to ensure your appliances are safe from electrical damage.
Everyone will try to find a way around load shedding. Some people will invest in a generator for their home, while others will turn to candles, paraffin lamps and gas stoves to keep things going. While the last three options are more economical, they pose a safety hazard to your home.
Burglary and theft
Load shedding exposes your property to the possibility of burglary and theft – whether you’re home or not. Criminals can move about unseen in the dark and can easily gain access to your house when your electronic security measures such as the alarm system and electric fence are down. We suggest backing up the batteries of your alarm system, putting burglar bars in front of windows and sliding doors and making sure your home is always locked up.
When travelling during a power outage, you’re bound to come across traffic lights that are out. Now, we know that many people are so eager to get home after a hard day’s work that they sometimes disregard the four way stop rule. While you can still rely on your car’s headlights to navigate your way home, the lack of adequate light reduces your vision.
Spoiling food supplies
Everything in your fridge has an expiry date which is accelerated when a power outage strikes. Imagine having to dispose of that salmon you were intending to serve at next week’s dinner party. Consuming spoiled food can have serious health consequences for you and your family. A good thing to do is to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain the right temperature inside, expanding the life of all perishable products.