CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, revealed at a recent press conference that Eskom plans to conduct 5 500MW of planned maintenance during winter. While the state-owned power utility has reassured the public that this will be implemented with minimal load shedding, citizens can still expect to fend off many cold winter nights without any help from their electric blankets or heaters.

“But it’s not just the heaters and electric kettles that homeowners need to worry about. When the power goes out at night, your alarm, electric fences and motorised gates go with it, leaving you and your home in a vulnerable position,” explains Warwick Scott-Rodger, Head of Dialdirect Insurance.

“Most insurance policies stipulate in their contracts that the house alarm must be activated at all times when the home is unoccupied. So, if your house is burgled during a power cut while you are out, then, theoretically, your theft-related cover would be moot.”

“We believe that load shedding is beyond the control of our customers, and therefore, they should not be penalised for it.  As such, at Dialdirect, we apply the principles of fairness and equity when processing every claim.”

Dialdirect offers these easy to implement tips for those looking to ensure their safety when the lights go out:

  • Get a few high-wattage solar powered lights for your garden, and a few LED lights for inside. Light is a deterrent to would-be burglars.
  • Keep your cellphone charged, or invest in a portable phone charger, so that you can still call for help if you need to.
  • If you need to manually open and close your gates when you get home, try to have someone come and meet you at your entrance, or arrange for an escort from your security company.
  • Use padlocks, burglar bars and deadbolts to provide an extra level of home security that isn’t power-dependent.

There are also less direct, but equally dangerous consequences of load shedding such as street lights and traffic lights being down at night. This places a greater burden on motorists driving home through load-shed areas in the dark.

Motorists are encouraged to drive cautiously at all times, but especially so in these poorly illuminated areas. Treat all inoperative traffic lights as a four-way stop, and when in doubt, yield to oncoming traffic from the right. Do not assume that all other drivers will stop so exercise extreme vigilance and drive defensively.

Scott-Rodger empathises with consumers struggling to stay warm this winter. “Load shedding is a complete burden however, look on the ‘bright’ side – it does give consumers time to spend time with their loved ones, free from the clutter of everyday life.”

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