Load Shedding Tips from Old Mutual Insure

8 Ways to minimise damage or risks from load shedding

1. Unplug appliances:
It is always a good idea to unplug appliances, or any other electronic devices, when the electricity goes out as these devices are vulnerable to power surges. These appliances, which include cell phones and computer equipment, can be badly damaged when the power comes back on due to a spike in electricity flow.

2. Test the alarm system:
During load shedding, alarm power packs and batteries may wear out faster, resulting in reduced functionality. This may also cause alarm systems to produce false alarms and panic signals. It is therefore important to test the system regularly by activating it on purpose; ask your alarm company to service the system on a bi-annual basis; switch the electricity off to see if the battery is in a working condition, and make sure all your alarm peripherals have fresh batteries if you have a wireless alarm system.

3. Install reserve batteries for fences and gates:
To ensure that electric fencing and gates still work during load shedding, reserve batteries should be installed and maintained. While reserve batteries generally last for 6-8 hours when the power goes out, load shedding dramatically decreases a battery’s lifespan, so it is incredibly important that these are tested or replaced, especially if the policyholder is planning on going away over the holidays.

4. Secure your home:
If the power goes out, homeowners should ensure that their homes are locked up and adequately secured, to reduce the risk of a home burglary. This will not only reduce the risk of a break-in, but will also improve the ease of your insurance claim should theft occur.

5. Be vigilant: Because the load shedding timetables are open to the public, criminals unfortunately may see blackouts as an opportune time to undertake illegal activities. As such, extra vigilance is required, particularly when arriving or leaving the home in the evenings. Keep a torch in your car should you arrive home in the dark and need to open your perimeter security gate manually.

6. Light up your home: During a blackout, people should make use of solar power or battery-operated lights. In addition, rechargeable torches and lights should also be kept in the home and car – but remember to keep these charged.

7. Be aware of generators:
While homeowners may purchase generators, it is critical that these are never used inside the home or in an enclosed area. Generators produce carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if inhaled and is highly flammable.

8. Review your insurance policy:
Homeowners need to review their insurance policies to see what is covered in the event of loss or damage to the home or its contents during a blackout. Customers are advised to speak to their Old Mutual Insure broker about any additional cover that may be needed.