Load shedding is back, and nobody’s happy about it. But unless you have the money for generators, solar installations, or other expensive alternatives, the reality is that you are at risk of losing power for periods of time until the national grid is stable again.
In our tech-driven world, it’s really disruptive to have a few hours without electricity. But losing power doesn’t necessarily mean losing productivity.
Yacoob Manjoo from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) offers four key strategies for minimising the impact of load shedding, while also making the most of the electrical downtime.
1. Invest in the right equipment
2. Know your schedule and the load-shedding status
The current load shedding is subject to fairly reliable schedules, so you can plan ahead. Whether you’re supplied by the City of Cape Town or Eskom, keep your schedule close at hand – either printed or on your mobile device.
And, because the national and local load shedding status can change in an instant, keep yourself updated by connecting to the right information sources:
3. Be smart with your electronics
Before load shedding:
During load shedding:
You can still connect to UCT’s centrally-managed information technology (IT) services (email, network drives, Vula, etc) provided that:
Eduroam will be available only in some buildings on campus, such as where there is back-up power. If there’s no wireless signal, you’ll have to use your own mobile data.
After load shedding:
Equipment can be damaged by sudden power surges so protect your gear by waiting until the power has been restored before you switch the plugs back on.
If you’re on campus and your IT equipment doesn’t work after a power outage, seek assistance from ICTS:
You may only log a call for UCT-owned equipment – not for your personal devices.
4. Plan ahead for offline work
If your equipment (including laptops or tablets) is battery-operated, you can probably outlast the load-shedding slot – if you charged your device beforehand.
However, if you're in a lecture that relies on data projectors, or if you're working on an experiment that uses electrically-powered machines, you can't really continue without power. In these cases, a little forward planning can keep you productive even without electricity.
Make a list of tasks you can complete without electricity, such as:
No power – no problem
Load shedding has made South Africa an interesting and unpredictable country to live in. And while we can direct all our fury at Eskom and others we deem responsible for the crisis, anger alone won't solve the problem.
If you’re an engineer, inventor or some other type of innovator, we hope that you can apply your talents to creating some outstanding solution that will assist our country in its hour of darkness. But even if you can’t make a huge impact, you can at least follow the basic advice outlined above – which will make load shedding easier for you.
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