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As most South Africans should be aware there are two common risks associated with load shedding, namely damage to household appliances and the risk of security systems malfunctioning. Another risk most people don’t consider is opportunistic crime. Load shedding schedules are made public for everyone to see including criminals. So what can we do to minimise the risks?
Here are 8 proactive ways to help reduce the risk of possible loss or damage.
- Unplug appliances – Always unplug all appliances and electronic devices when your electricity goes out as there is always a possibility of power surges when the electricity comes back on due to a spike in the load.
- Test your alarm system – Alarm power packs and battery systems wear out faster during load shedding periods causing the alarm system to operate with reduced functionality, this could also cause false alarms and panic signals.
It is extremely important to test your alarm system by switching off your electricity and activating the alarm system to determine if the battery is in working condition. You should be asking your alarm company to service your system at least twice a year.
- Install reserve batteries for fences and gates – You should have reserve batteries installed and maintained to ensure your electric fence and gates are in working order even if the electricity is off. Reserve batteries generally last 6-8 hours but load shedding will reduce the life span dramatically so it is extremely important to test these batteries often. Replacement batteries are obtainable from The Security Shop which is located in the larger malls or online at security-shop.co.za.
- Secure your home – Homeowners should ensure that their homes are sufficiently locked up and secured when the electricity is off, this will greatly reduce the risk of a home burglary. This will not only improve the ease of your insurance claim should a burglary occur but also reduce the risk of a break in.
- Be Vigilant – Be extra vigilant when the power is out as criminals may see this as an opportune time to engage in criminal activities especially because the load shedding schedule is open to the public. Keep a torch in the house and car and be aware of your surroundings when arriving or leaving your house in the dark.
- Light up your home – Many people make use of solar power or battery-operated lights when the power is off. In addition to these sources of light, make sure all torches in the house are fully charged and easily accessible.
- Be aware of generators – Many homeowners purchase generators to keep the lights on during load shedding. It is vital that these are not used inside the house or in an enclosed area as generators produce carbon monoxide which is flammable and can be deadly if inhaled. Again, we recommend that your turn off your appliances when switching to or from generator power to avoid power surge damage.
- Review your insurance policy – Clients need to review their policies to make sure they have the correct cover in place if any damage is caused to their home or its contents during load shedding. Most insurance policies do include some cover for power surge damage however the amount that the Insurer will pay in the event of a claim is often limited. We encourage all clients to contact us if they have any queries regarding their cover during load shedding.
Load shedding schedules and notifications are available on the EskomSePush app.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)