Now that Eskom has finally shed some light on its immediate plans for the country and load shedding, it’s time to talk business. As in, if you own a business, should gear up if you want to keep your business running (provided you haven’t done so already).
During a press briefing on Sunday, one that many had hoped would be packed with solutions and faster ways to get the country out of load shedding, Eskom told South Africa to gear up for at least two more years of load shedding. So what can you do about it?
Solar is expensive and, as a small business, you might not be able to afford a sizable UPS. There are other options, however. Here are some tips to make sure your business continues during, and after, load shedding.
Move to the cloud
If you’re still running most of your business from local servers, we suggest you move your workload to the cloud. At least there’s some light up there. Consider running your business on cloud-based services including Google Drive (which is free) so you can continue working from multiple devices no matter where you are.
Sage, the multinational enterprise software company, says cloud-based solutions allow your business to stay productive during load shedding. If everyone’s using a laptop and there’s a means of powering your internet access (and there tends to be), work can continue as usual.
“It also means that [staff] no longer need to depend on an in-office server or computer to log into your accounting software or CRM—they can do it from any device—to access the latest data,” says Sage.
You should also back up your data on cloud-based services to ensure you don’t lose it when the power goes.
“If your business is computer-based, it’s crucial to back up your data often and to put measures in place to keep your data safe. The last thing you want is to lose files or work you’ve done during this time,” says JBS Advisory and Accounting, a company that provides advice and services to businesses.
Pull the plug or surge-protect
Remember to unplug your devices when the power goes to avoid damage when the power eventually comes back.
“Once the dreaded dark hours are over, and the electricity has returned, the power surge impacts the steady voltage flow in the electrical system, which can damage the electronic components of the equipment that’s plugged in,” says mobile payment solution company iKhokha.
Eskom — yes, the same company responsible for the country’s load shedding woes — offers solutions to help South Africans manage the problems the utility has created. Thanks, we guess?
Eskom recommends using surge protectors. It’s best to plug devices, including computers and any other electronic gear, into surge protectors in order to avoid that equipment being damaged when the electricity comes back. It’s trite but it’s true — it’s better to be safe than sorry.
#Loadshedding is in progress
👉Check your schedule regularly so you have enough time to prepare.
👉Avoid power surges. Switch off electrical equipment to reduce risk of damage caused when the power returns
👉 Keep emergency lights, cellphones and laptops charged pic.twitter.com/6YSbOK9AGJ
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) January 21, 2023
Look for alternatives
It will be at least another two years of little or no power in South Africa. When you do have electricity, you’ll pay dearly for it. Late last year, Nersa approved a massive 33.7% increase in Eskom tariffs. It’s time to move to an alternative energy solution. Eskom is not coming to save you or your business.
It may not be cheap to move to solar or uninterrupted power supply, but you can start small and as your business grows, you can then upgrade the system. Moving into renewable power as funds allow may take some time but gradually easing into the transition is better than sitting and making the change all at once.
“It’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses to invest in UPSs (uninterrupted power supply), generators, and solar power systems so that they’re not affected by load shedding. While this can be quite a costly investment, many believe that the benefits far outweigh the cost,” says iKhokha.