Load Shedding and Potential Dangers.

With load shedding once again an ominous reality in our lives it is vitally important to be aware of the dangers associated with these power outages.

Recently we have seen an increased number of claims directly related to load shedding.

A fire that resulted from a pot left on the stove during a load shedding period. When the power was restored the pot kept cooking unattended causing a fire which spread through the whole unit.

These photos are from a claim where a hairdryer was left ‘on’ – on the bed when the power was turned off. The circled area is where the remnants of the hairdryer were found, and the arrow indicates the wall plug into which the multi plug was plugged.

8 Tips from Ronelle Pretorius, from Old Mutual Insure, on how to minimise your risk due to load-shedding:

  1. Remove all the electrical plugs from wall sockets. This includes cell phone chargers and computers due to electrical spikes that can damage your equipment when the power is restored.
  2. Regularly test your alarm-system. Due to load-shedding, the battery pack of your alarm system might go flat or malfunction and this can be the cause for false alarms. It is advisable to test your alarm system regularly by activating your alarm manually and phoning your security company to see if they pick it up on their systems.
  3. Install backup batteries for electrical fence and gate. Keep in mind that a backup battery normally works for up to 8 hours when the power is out, but due to load-shedding might shorten your batteries life span. Regular tests need to be done, especially before going on holiday.
  4. Secure your home. Reduce the risk of a burglary by locking all the doors and security gates when you leave home. If a burglary should occur, the steps you took to secure your home will count in your favour when handling your claim.
  5. Be alert.  The load-shedding schedule is available to the public and criminals may use this to their advantage.  Be attentive when you arrive home or when you have to leave your home in the dark. Have a spare flashlight in the car for such an occasion.
  6. Illuminate your home. During load-shedding you need to use rechargeable batteries or solar power to illuminate your home. Have spare flashlights in your home and car and remember to recharge them regularly to avoid disappointment. 
  7. Generator care. You may find it necessary to use a generator at home but remember, don’t use the generator inside your home or in an enclosed space. Due to the highly flammable fuel and the emission of carbon monoxide this can be fatal.
  8. Revise your insurance policy.  Home owners need to know if and what they are covered for in the case of theft or damage to their property during load-shedding.  Policy holders are advised to talk to their insurance broker about additional cover that they might need.