The national power crisis has seen repeated black-outs daily around the country and this morning the power utility tweeted that some of the units taken out over the weekend have not yet returned resulting in stage one load shedding until three generators are fixed.

NOW! spoke to John October, spokesperson for Dial Direct Insurance, for his load shedding survival guide.

Aside from reducing your electricity consumption (especially between the peak 5pm to 9pm period) and unplugging your appliances when you’re not using them, here are some useful tips on how to survive a power outage:

• Put the proposed load shedding times on your fridge so that your family will have enough time to prepare for the power outage.

• Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates generally rely on electricity so make sure that these items all have good back-up batteries. If your alarm system does not have a back-up battery, be cautious during a power outage. It is worthwhile to purchase a mobile panic button which runs off batteries and which is linked to a reputable emergency response company.

• If you rely on a cordless phone, which would obviously be rendered inoperable during a power outage, keep your cell phone handy.

• Use LED globes with a rechargeable battery backup, so when the power outage occurs, you just need to connect the rechargeable battery to the LED globe to produce light.

• Make sure your computer, laptop, phone or iPad is fully charged so you can still use them.

• Keep an oil lamp, torch or solar, battery powered light or lantern or portable light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of fresh, spare batteries.

• Fill a thermos flask with boiling water before the blackout for a warm cup of tea or coffee during the blackout.

• If your budget allows, buy a portable generator. Learn to safely use your generator and test it monthly. Make sure to store enough fuel to run the generator for up to a week.

• Your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power over night if you do not open and close it repeatedly.

The National Clothing Retail Federation of South Africa has urged Eskom to review its implementation of rotational load shedding over weekends and to engage business more actively in limiting the fallout from the energy crisis.

Its members are Edcon, Mr Price, Queenspark, TFG (The Foschini Group), Truworths and Woolworths.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that consumers can expect 54 hours of darkness in the coming week as the embattled parastatal announced that it needed to free up 4 000MW after running out of water and diesel at some facilities and has warned South Africans to brace themselves for a dark Christmas Day as the Eskom crisis looks set to continue into the New Year.

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