Electrical and lighting distributor Voltex offers energy-savvy tips for dealing with load-shedding
The sudden implementation of load-shedding recently came without warning and resulted in many businesses scrambling to continue operations. Uncertainty around the load-shedding period has seen businesses and individuals hurrying to implement systems that will enable them to survive rolling blackouts.
Through its expertise and services, Voltex offers a number of viable solutions to sustain operations and keep businesses productive during load-shedding, albeit at potentially lower levels. For the individual, there are also tools that can be employed to help manage day-to-day life.
Voltex experts have compiled a list of survival tips to help businesses deal with load-shedding during the day, and homeowners at night.
Some suggestions are fairly quick and easy to implement, with the products readily available from Voltex branches. The more sustainable solutions may need an upfront investment but, considering the rising costs of electricity – not to mention uncertainty about the power utility’s supply –the cost-versus-benefit ratio will tip the scale.
BUSINESS AND DAYTIME USAGE Switch to laptops Unlike desktop computers, laptops have built-in batteries, so the user would be able to continue work during load-shedding. Although some applications require a desktop, the majority of SA’s workforce could operate on laptops.
Dedicate the UPS to the server only Most companies have a UPS for its servers and desktop computers. By switching to laptops, the back-up time on an existing UPS will be increased since laptops will run on their own batteries rather than drawing power from the UPS. However, most UPSs are not maintained and the user may realise the UPS is not working only when it’s too late. Batteries need to be checked and replaced to ensure the UPS is fully functional during load-shedding.
Install a generator
When deciding on a generator, it is essential that an energy audit be carried out by an expert to properly assess the user’s requirements. It is also prudent to cater for essential loads only rather than the whole operation, since there is a substantial cost difference between larger and smaller generator units. In addition, it is also critical that the generator be serviced on a regular basis.
Convert to LED lights Reducing the load from traditional or CFL lights to LEDs will reduce the amount of fuel consumed by a generator.
When considering a solar power system as a viable substitute during load-shedding, it is necessary to also provide for sufficient battery capacity, otherwise it will not operate off the grid. In addition to the benefits of reducing a user’s reliance on power producers, the tax advantage of solar power further encourages the investment in this renewable energy.
INDIVIDUALS AND NIGHT-TIME USAGE Switch to a gas hob An investment in a gas hob will reap long-term cost savings and keep the food on the go during load-shedding. When calculating the cost saving, take into consideration the electricity used to boil a kettle. Using a gas hob to boil water results in savings of approximately 2 kW of electricity each time, not to mention being able to enjoy a cup of tea at any given time.
Install a battery back-up Voltex supplies several battery back-up systems that ensure power supply during load-shedding. However, users are advised that running non-essential equipment during load-shedding can reduce the overall run-time of the battery back-up, which means you could be back in the dark within minutes.
Let in the sunshine All battery back-up systems from Voltex have options to add solar at a later stage. The batteries will thus be recharged through solar technology rather than drawing electrical power, saving money on the utility bill.