I.T. and Load Shedding: What You Need To Know

“Unexpected load shedding caught the economy off guard during October [2019]” SACCI said. This triggered unintended consequences and noticeable disruption in business, especially in the SMME sectors. As South Africans, we know aware of the ever-present reality of load shedding hitting unexpectedly. If not managed correctly, it could result in severe unintended consequences. As leaders in the I.T. industry, we propose the following tips to safeguard your infrastructure and data against load shedding.

Your Load Shedding Checklist

  1. Know your status
  2. Identify the most important systems that need to remain in operation. 
  3. Identify alternative power supplies for those critical devices.
  4. Protect your devices and data:
    • Implement Power surge protectors for alternative devices.
    • Save computer work regularly and Ensure backups are up to date.

Location, Location, Location

Whether your electricity supply is provided by your governing Municipality or by Eskom, first things first, know your location and status and plan accordingly. The up-to-date schedule can easily be accessed through the Eskom or City of Cape Town websites and their respective social media accounts (@CityofCT and @Eskom_SA).

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

It is ideal for computer- and internet-dependent organizations and households to have a UPS. This device serves as a battery backup in the event of load shedding or when utility power drops to an unacceptable voltage level. The UPS will keep your equipment running until the battery wanes. At this point it will alert you of the imminent shut down so that you have enough time to switch off your devices effectively. Equipment that can be plugged into a UPS can include computers, routers and VoIP phones. Monitors, especially cathode-ray tube models, draw a fair amount of power and so require a larger, more expensive UPS. So while a UPS is not the Cinderella glass shoe moment you might hope for, choosing the correct UPS can make or break your response to load shedding.

Power Surge Protectors

A sudden drop and flow of electrical circuit can cause power surges. If these surges are not managed properly, they can greatly damage your IT hardware. Surge protectors are designed to guard your equipment against unexpected voltage spikes. It limits the energy supplied to an electric device by either blocking it completely or shorting an unwanted voltage. Power surge protectors that connect into the wall socket are relatively cheap and easy to find online or at your local hardware store.

Regular Backups

Nothing is worse than working tediously towards a deadline or project completion only to have load shedding write off your data as if it never existed. During these electricity troubled times, it is crucial to ensure your backups are up to date. There are thankfully many ways you can back up your data.  Some of the more common solutions include backing up to an external drive or using a cloud storage service. All that may sound complicated but once your backup system is automated, you’ll have less stress, especially when load shedding strikes.

Going Green

Globally there is a dramatic increase in environmental consciousness which is steering decision making. Consequently, solar panels are becoming more and more popular in residential and commercial use. Although this might be expensive to implement at first, countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have seen a positive return on their investment. 

Although loadshedding can have some unintended consequences, with these few tips, we hope you’ll be able to feel a little lighter.