Living in the dark. Coping with load shedding!

In preparation for the impending restart or surprise visit of Load Shedding, we did a little bit of homework for you.

Did you have electricity last night? Did yours go off when it was supposed to? The loadshedding schedule isn’t accurate? The traffic was so bad because all the robots were out!

I bet you these are the kinds of things you are hearing nearly every day when you finally get to the office. Whether we like it or not, unfortunately load shedding is a reality at the moment and one of those ‘out of control’ things that are what they are. In saying that, I’d like to share a few tips and tricks with you that can make loadshedding a little more bearable.

What often makes load shedding so frustrating is that the schedule isn’t always accurate and therefore we are left unprepared for when it hits and we didn’t know. It’s usually also at the most inconvenient times (bath time, bed time, kids suicide hour and rush hour) which makes your already long day even longer.

Don’t you find that as soon as the lights go off you are suddenly dying to have a cup of tea? Im not even a tea drinker really but, as soon as I don’t have the option to switch on the kettle, I want tea? Haha. There are of course numerous options to have your power kick right back on as the lights trip but for the majority of South African’s, items such as combo gas and electric stoves, generators and solar power are not readily available and cost a huge amount to outlay to get it. 

Generators: If you have a generator, then amazing. Just remember to always have a spare container of fuel next to your generator in the event that the lights do go out and it needs to be refilled. People so often forget to check the fuel level after they have been using their generator, and it’s all very well having one but you have got to have the fuel to run it. To save on fuel costs too, try not run everything in your house all at once. Switch lights off in rooms you are not using and switch off appliances like aircons and heaters as they draw a lot of power.

Being stuck in the dark doesn’t have to be all that bad. Apart from forcing you to put away your work and phone, it can encourage you to spend some quality time with your family, talking! When last did you all sit together and actually talk about your day? Our technology-driven world consumes us and sometimes it’s hard to unplug from being accessible all the time. Look up from your screens!!! If you still absolutely have to have access to all forms of technology, then items like charged power banksmake keeping your phone charged very easy. I always have a charged power bank in my handbag in the event I get caught off guard and forgot to charge my phone. Most laptops also have a decent battery life and should keep you going until the lights come back on. Alternatively you could go to a coffee shop or restaurant (most places have a generator) and you can use their free wifi while sipping on a hot cup of coffee.

I’ve compiled a list below of a few extra items you could keep and pull out relatively easily when the lights go out. 

Battery Operated Lights: Keep these in a server drawer or a drawer in the kitchen. When the lights go out, you can make your way to ONE drawer somewhere and access all this. It’s worth even creating a “loadshedding draw” with some matcheslightersand some candles. This way, you aren’t searching in multiple places for light options.

Candles: These can both be functional and decorative. So many people put candles around their houses for decorative reasons and then don’t use them. From an organising perspective, candles are a great way of killing two birds with one stone. Use the stuff you have!! I have candles on my dining room table, server unit, next to the tv, in all my bathrooms and on a set of draws in my room. They are in various shapes and sizes and match each room aesthetically. But, when the lights go out – I go to my server draw, grab my lighter and can move my way through the house to get some light.

Gas: We have a gas braai outside and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve used it to cook our dinner. There is no rule to say that you can’t put a frying pan or a pot on a gas braai to get your dinner. Also let’s be honest, we south Africans do love an impromptu braai anyway so most times you wouldn’t have to make a gourmet meal, just pull out some kebabs and a steak, run them under hot water to defrost and then dinner is served. No man is going to be unhappy about that. Gas heatersare also a win if you have one, at least you can stay warm if you usually rely on an electric blanket or heater.

Hopefully the above tips have helped you a bit, I could go on and on about meal options or planning groceries and food ahead of time but that could be a whole new post. If any of you amazing organisers have some additional tips to share, we would love to hear from you. 

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