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The hidden costs of load-shedding

By , CEO, Alumo Energy.
26 Jan 2024
Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy.
Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy.

The most obvious toll that rolling power outages take is a loss of productive time – we can’t work, we can’t cook, and we can’t enjoy after-hours leisure activities, such as watching TV and using the internet. There are, however, other costs involved that may not immediately spring to mind but end up hitting us in the wallet.

The various electric appliances and electronic devices that are an integral part of our lives are not built for ongoing power-outs and power-ins. The first hurdle they encounter happens when the power returns after a cut. It often does so in a surge – a power tsunami, if you will – that can knock your devices out of commission. Stand by for repair bills, or in a worst-case scenario, you may even have to replace the item in question.

Then there’s the spectre of unscheduled power cuts. Many items – computers specifically – don’t take kindly to being turned off at the mains, as opposed to going through their correct power-down procedure. The unexpected power break may even result in lost work or data.

A third factor to consider is the cumulative effect of devices being turned on and off continuously. A fridge that’s expected to have a lifespan of about 15 years may, for example, have it reduced to as little as three years, because of the ongoing assault of load-shedding.

What are my rights?

Ultimately, one ought to be able to claim from Eskom for load-shedding-related faults, right? Theoretically, yes, but it’s a lengthy and convoluted process, and experience has shown that the chances of a positive outcome are slim. Do you have the time, money, and stamina to drag yourself through this?

It's likely that your insurance will pay for goods damaged by the power cuts, although conditions vary between insurers, and there are provisos. There is also the real possibility of your premiums increasing after such claims. For example: Was the appliance in question connected to a surge protector? You might also have to deal with your home being visited by an insurance assessor.

Even in the best-case scenario of your insurer paying you out in full (or, rarer yet, Eskom doing so) no one enjoys the hassle of the paperwork, the phone calls, and other logistics involved. Your easiest option is to ensure that all your sensitive devices, from fridges to desktop computers, are connected to power backup systems, in addition to surge protection – which may or may not be built into these pieces of equipment. That way, when the power cuts or returns, your devices will continue to receive a smooth and uninterrupted electrical supply. This said, although the problem of load-shedding is an immediate one, many households in these financially trying times are not necessarily able to bear the entire cost upfront. In response, Alumo Energy provides different-sized solutions for different-sized homes, and offers consumers the option to pay overtime or even rent a system. By offering people finance packages, we allow them to resolve their power problems immediately, whilst easing their costs over time.

Beware the quick-buck merchants Unfortunately, the overwhelming power issues being experienced by consumers have led to an exponential growth in fly-by-nighters; questionable businesses that have identified a need and opportunity, but don’t necessarily have the knowledge, experience, or commitment to provide proper advice upfront, and then, after-sales service. Many of these outlets don’t even stay in business long enough to fulfil their warranty obligations.

Instead, seek a professional solar solution provider with a strong track record and employees who are all experts in their field. At Alumo, we guide the consumer through the entire process and ensure that everything runs to plan. And, unlike the power supply, we can be relied upon.

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