Surviving Loadshedding: The Best Solutions for South Africans

If you reside in South Africa, one of the never-ending battles you face is loadshedding. Eskom, the state-owned power utility company, regularly rolls out load shedding across the country. The solution is simple – having a backup power solution to mitigate the impact of power outages. Thankfully, there are various solutions out there to help you navigate load shedding. This guide will take a look at the best load shedding solutions available at different price points to help you make an informed decision.

Affordable Load Shedding Solutions

If you want to tackle load shedding within a budget, here are some affordable solutions that’ll keep you going during outages:

  1. Lights (R100 – R500+) – Portable lights and battery-powered bulbs are the easiest first step. They’re affordable, easy to use, and offer basic lighting during load shedding. You can get yourself a few rechargeable LED “emergency” lights or swap out your regular light bulbs for rechargeable LED bulbs. When loadshedding hits, they can still shine for several hours.
  2. Devices to keep the internet on (R500 – R2000) – During load shedding, you need to keep essential connectivity devices powered, such as your WiFi routers, CCTV cameras, phones, and other small electronics. A mini UPS (uninterruptible power supply) device is a small device that can provide backup power to your devices when the power goes out. Different internet setups have different power requirements, but a mini UPS with 30-65Wh capacity should cover you for 2-4 hours.
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Mid-Range Load Shedding Solutions

If you want to level up your power backup game, here are some mid-range solutions:

  1. Portable Power Stations (R6000 – R20 000+) – Portable power stations have larger batteries that can be used to power devices like TVs and laptops. They’re handy and can keep your fridge powered during load shedding. These systems are smaller than backup power systems, but they range in power, from systems to keep the WiFi on with less than 100 Wh capacity, up to 2kWh systems and beyond which could run the lights, fridge, TVs, etc., for a small home.
  2. Generators (R3000 – R20 000+ and fuel to run) – Generators are a reliable option to tackle load shedding. They’re available at great prices second hand – especially if someone is upgrading to solar. If you’re not keen on the noise, many people are investing in newer silent generator models. They come in all sizes – from 1kW to 10kW and beyond, meaning they can power just about anything you need.
Portable Power Station

High-End Load Shedding Solutions

If you’re ever ready to invest in high-end solutions, brace yourself for the upfront costs:

  1. Wall-Mounted Battery Kits (R50 000 to R100 000+) – A battery kit provides a powerful and permanent solution for people who want to keep their whole homes running during load shedding. It consists of an inverter and battery combo that directly connects to your house’s electrical system and is typically installed on a wall.
  2. Solar Solutions (R75 000 to R300 000+) – Solar systems include a solar panel array, battery, and inverter system. They reduce or eliminate your reliance on Eskom and thus reduce your electricity bill. While the upfront cost is significant, they provide a long-term solution that can benefit you for years to come. The most popular solar solutions for home are generally 5kW and 8kW, although larger and smaller options are available.
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Note that cheaper options will only provide basic features and may not offer extended hours of backup power. However, they’re excellent for keeping your mobile phone charged and running a few lights. Mid-range solutions will provide you more flexibility and can run some larger appliances such as fridges, TVs, and other essential home electronics. High-end solutions, like wall-mounted battery kits and solar solutions, can provide longer hours of backup power and reduce or eliminate your reliance on Eskom. Your budget, usage, and backup power goals will determine the best option for you.

Load shedding is a frustrating experience for many South Africans, but with the right backup power solutions in place, it doesn’t need to be a total nightmare. From lights to solar solutions, there are various options available that can help mitigate the impact of power outages. Remember to choose a quality product with a decent lifespan and always adhere to safety precautions when using these backup power systems.

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