I’d like to have a real rant about Eskom and their load shedding. I’d like to moan about how they knew this was coming and that most of their board has taken fat pay cheques, resigned and left us in a steaming pile of doo doo. There’s the added insult that the power giant has released a load shedding schedule that they cannot even be bothered to stick to. Right now I’m filling flasks with hot water so I can keep my tea supply going when they cut the lights (something they were meant to do an hour ago, but my laptop is still happily humming… it refuses to work if not plugged into its charger).
I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to share 4 tech tips to help you survive load shedding.
1. Get off the grid
I’m not rolling in cash so installing a roof of solar panels and an industrial type generator aren’t exactly an option. However, there are a host of sustainable energy products you can utilise to help get you off the grid and aid you with some power supply when Eskom decides to load shed. I recently ran a competition for Sustainable.co.za on this blog and it gave me some time to search their site. Battery operated lighting, solar powered jars and hot bag eco cookers are ideal to keep your belly filled with warm food and stop you from stumping your toe on the couch when you’re stumbling around in the dark. You’re also helping the enviroment. So it’s a win win.
2. Help the cause by saving energy
While we hate load shedding it is happening and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Saving energy and reducing your power consumption is going to lower the demand on the grid. Every little bit helps. There is a great new product in South Africa called CarbonTRACK which monitors your energy usage. You fit the device and then load an app on your smartphone. You’ll be able to remotely turn off items that may be draining energy like geysers and pool pumps. The cost of CarbonTrack if R4500 and that includes the device, installation, data interface support and call centre support. Twenty minutes before you head home in the evening you can then turn your geyser back on via your smartphone, so instant hot shower when you get home. The best part? CarbonTRACK can save you up to 30% on your electricity bills each month. Anyone else in favour of showing Eskom the middle finger and paying them a little less each month? I vote yay.
3. Save battery power
The load shedding schedule is about as useful as toilet paper. Despite your best intentions you may find your power being switched off when you least expect it. There are a host of ways to save the battery life on your gadgets. I chatted to the folks at RED-E and they shared a few useful tips to preserving those gadget batteries. Switch off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, vibrate and notifications for apps like Pinterest or LinkedIn (you know, the not really all that important to know right away what is happening ones) unless they’re needed. Turning down your brightness on your screen will also preserve battery life. Don’t wait to run your battery completely flat, if it is a lithium-ion battery (most tablets & smartphones are) charge it up when it hits 50%. Don’t leave your phone plugged in once it hits 100% and try keep it a cool place as opposed to the heat. This saves battery power as well. Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re charging it – it will charge faster.
4. Buy all the power banks
I have three power banks. A RED-E 6000mAh one to give my tablet a boost (I was gifted with one, it got stolen and I went out and purchased a replacement. This is a product endorsement plain and simple. I love this power bank), a RED-E RC25 charger for my smartphone and another 2200mAh charger for any other gadgets that may need a boost. I also have a car charger for desperate times. I’m of the opinion that during load shedding you can never have too many power banks.
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