Understand The Load Shedding Stages

Let's be honest, when we hear them announce that we'll be going through load shedding stage 4, most of us are not too sure what that even means. So, to help you better understand the stages, we've listed them here. If you know what they mean, great! Just skip this and carry on with the rest of your load shedding prep below.

Four schedules have been formed, based on the level of risk and to ensure that load shedding shared and done in a fair manner:

Download A Load Shedding App

There are a handful of load shedding apps out there, but what we have noticed that not many of them are accurate. So far, the one that seems to be hitting the nail right on the head regarding load shedding schedules is Load Shedding Notifier. It's rather simple - just download it (Google Play), add and set various zones that will be affecting you (home, work, other family households, etc) and you're ready to be notified. There's also the Eskom Se Push app if you're looking to use and compare multiple schedule sources. Another great way to keep on top of the load shedding schedule is joining community Facebook pages if your suburb has one.

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Fully Charge All Devices 

Since you have downloaded a load shedding app, you'll now know when to expect your next black out. With this is mind, make sure that you fully charge all of your devices - laptops, tablets, phones, Kindles, everything that can be charged - before the set times of your zone load shedding. That way, you don't need to worry about flat batteries and being bored while you wait for the hours of darkness to pass.

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Homeowners, Consider Buying A Generator

Own your own property? Don't live in an apartment or flat? Then why not consider investing in a generator? Yes, they're noisy. Yes, they'll cost a some moola to run (most use petrol). And yes, they do cost a pretty penny (easily between R2 000 - R10 000 depending on size, wattage and fuel tank capacity) BUT at least you won't be sitting in the dark and you'll have a power source than can be used for many years to come. Most home and hardware outlets will stock generators, so make sure you head to Builders, Game, Leroy Merlin and Takealot. Don't forget to pick up a few extension leads and adapters to "share the love". Another source of power that's more environmentally friendly than the generators is solar power. This seems to be becoming more popular in recent times.

Tip: Keep a few Jerry Cans filled with "liquid gold" stored in the garage. Generators can guzzle through litres of petrol depending on how much power you use, so be sure to have some extra on standby.

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Stock Up On Lighting Alternatives

If you cannot get a generator or simply just don't want to spend a small fortune, there's always the old-fashioned candles, flashlights and lanterns. Just don't forget to get matches, a lighter or batteries while you're at it or else this option is just not going to work! Candles, flashlights, batteries and lighters/matches can be bought practically anywhere - Checkers, Spar, Game, Shoprite, Pick n Pay - but as for the lanterns and light adapters, you can find them at any outdoor or hardware outlets. Also, it wouldn't hurt to install a few solar outdoor lights to light up your garden a little bit (just as an added safety measure).

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Replace Electrical Appliances With Gas

There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to get dinner on the table due to load shedding. No power, no microwave, no stove, no kettle, nothing. But there is an alternative - gas stoves. Just like a generator, this option doesn't come cheap, but it's a good investment. A little too expensive? Then why not buy a portable stove top that you can connect to the generator? Again, check out Builders, Game, Leroy Merlin and Takealot for those stove tops. Have neither? Not to worry! You can always grab some charcoal, fire up the braai and tuck into some braaivleis. Or even make a potjie. Also important: if you get a gas stove, don't forget to get a stove top kettle, that's a lifesaver!

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Power Banks Are Lifesavers

Since we are in the day and age where we use our cell phones for absolutely everything - alarm clocks, contacting people, checking load shedding schedules, ordering takeout, entertainment purposes, GPS, the flashlight function, etc - it's essential that its battery life lasts. To ensure it does, get your hands on a power bank, charge it and have it on standby. Also, the more you have, the better! Visit Incredible Connection, Takealot, Game, and The Gadget Shop to check out their selection of these lifesavers.

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Stay Connected

Just because the power is out, doesn't mean you cannot stream, surf the web or continue with your assignment or presentation that's due tomorrow! Use a portable modem or 3G dongle to keep connected to the internet during bouts of load shedding. Most mobile networks and internet providers offer these nifty gadgets, so make sure you contact them or visit your nearest store to get yours ASAP. See, owning a dongle isn't that bad!

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A Pantry Full Of Snacks

Before everything else on this list, make sure that you jam-pack your pantry with lots and lots of snacks! That way, you won't starve yourself due to not having electricity to cook up some dinner on the stove or in the microwave. It's not the healthiest of meals, we know, but it's a delicious way to pass the time.

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Just Sleep Through It!

Or maybe you could save yourself all the time, effort and money ensuring you're set, ready and prepared for the load shedding by just sleep through it! There's no harm in getting in more sleep, is there? Before you know it, you'll be awakened by the flash of lights turning back on. Or better yet, why not just go out into the city, find a spot with power and just hang out there with a couple of friends?

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Culinary Equipment Company

Culinary Equipment Company, with a flagship showroom and warehouse located in Lanseria and retail boutiques in Hyde Park and Stellenbosch, is your one-stop store for all things gourmet. They’re stockists of premium appliances, gadgets, catering equipment and smalls from Europe with an emphasis on quality and heritage brands, including Charvet, Ambassade, Faema, Salvis, Emile Henry and Le Panyol.

The company also imports semi-perishable foods such as bottled water, tomatoes, pasta, oils, cured meats and cheeses. And a trip to the showroom also calls for an afternoon lunch at their on-site bistro restaurant, deli and demonstration kitchen, Culinary Table, which boasts a seasonal menu filled with delicious garden-to-table fare, such as gourmet burgers, meat and poultry, pastas, salads and sandwiches.

Details: Lanseria Centre, Pelindaba Road (R512), Lanseria, Johannesburg / 011 701 2200 / www.culinary.co.za

Le Creuset

We have to admit: we’re smitten with Le Creuset’s rainbow assortment of cast-iron cooking dishes and stoneware crockery. And every foodie’s kitchen has to boast one, or four, of their items. Our must-have items for a gourmet kitchen? A signature round casserole – in your choice of colour, of course. It’s the perfect dish to cook and serve a delicious stew, stroganoff or chicken casserole.

But the French company also boasts a range of other items that every kitchen should have in its cupboards and drawers, so take a closer look at their stainless steel pots and pans, knives, kettles and accessories.

There are a number of Le Creuset stores dotted over Johannesburg; visit their website to find one closest to you.

Details: www.lecreuset.co.za

Miele

Miele is one of the most well-known and trusted names in the industry –and for good reason. The German brand has been manufacturing quality appliances since 1899 and now boasts a full range of kitchen items, including ovens, microwaves, hobs and combi sets, cookerhoods, coffee machines, fridges and freezers, and dishwashers.

The century-old company continuously raises the bar when it comes to cutting edge technology, releasing new items that are energy efficient and improve sustainability performance.

Details: Miele Building, 63 Peter Place, Bryanston / 011 875 9000 / www.miele.co.za

iLve

iLVE was founded in Italy in 1969 and was established in SA in 2000, offering locals the opportunity to get their hands on quality Italian appliances. The wealth of experience gained over the past almost 50 years, along with a specific know-how in gas and electric household cooking appliances, has resulted in advanced safety technology combined with superior design and unique styling.

The product range includes free-standing cookers, built-in ovens, professional cooktops, built-in hobs, cooker hoods and accessories.

Details: 3 Desmond Street, Cnr Appel Street, Kramerville / 011 440 4422 / http://www.ilve.co.za

Best Italia

For more than 15 years, Best Italia have been importing high-quality, specialised stainless steel and designer appliances from Europe at very competitive prices. The brands they stock include Fulgor, Nardi and Best, and the items range from ovens and stoves to wine coolers and specialist equipment like vacuum-sealing drawers.

Details: 3 Desmond Street, Cnr Appel Street, Kramerville / 011 466 4545 / www.bestitalia.co.za

Smeg

Smeg, founded by Italian Vittorio Bertazzoni in the 19th century, is one of the most highly regarded and recognised home appliance manufacturers in the world. The manufacture small and large appliances, including mixers, kettles, toasters, blenders, juicers, coffee machines, ovens, hobs, cookers, wine coolers, fridges and more.

The iconic coloured retro 50s refrigerators are what people love most about the brand, and last year saw a momentous collab between the company and fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, creating a collection of limited-edition fridges and smalls. Feast your eyes…

Details: 2985 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston, Johannesburg / 011 463 1016 / www.smeg.co.za