When it comes to load-shedding, knowledge is power

Whether you want to call it load-shedding, a blackout, load-shifting or load sharing, remember that this affects everyone. We are in this together so join your neighbourhood Whatsapp or Facebook group to stay informed.

So says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of ESI Africa, a leading energy industry journal.

“It is not really viable at this stage for the average suburban household to go completely off the grid to avoid the effects of load-shedding,” says Pombo-van Zyl. “However, it is possible to develop a back-up plan for when the grid goes down. The ideal option is solar PV but this requires a substantial investment, which will eventually pay off in the long run. You could just invest in a solar water heater system or take the route of rooftop solar with a battery storage unit.

“Back-up generators are also an option, especially for businesses. However, they can be noisy and cumbersome to set up and may prove dangerous for people not familiar with this type of equipment. Another off-grid option is to change to gas for cooking and lighting.

“Invest in battery-operated torches and lighting and regularly check the batteries. Ensure that your mobile phones are charged. Also be more vigilant when driving as a lot of traffic lights are affected.”

She says that some people may think that they are experiencing load-shedding when in fact their mains have tripped. So always check the mains switch if you aren’t aware of load-shedding plans in you area.

The potential of renewable energy sources such as solar, storage solutions and mini-grid generation projects are some of the focus areas at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa taking place from May 14 to 16 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The 19th edition of this flagship conference and exhibition is expected to attract more than 10 000 energy and water professionals this year. The South African Minister of Energy, Honourable Jeff Radebe, is heading a line up of expert speakers and will once again deliver the opening ministerial address on May 14.

ESI Africa is the longstanding host publication of the event and also has an onsite studio on the expo floor to interview dozens of experts for its online portal.

Pombo-van Zyl says: “This annual event is marked in my diary as a ‘must-attend’ to meet with industry stalwarts and the up-and-coming young leaders. I’m keenly looking forward to three intense days of on-point conversations around what’s happening in the industry, what to expect in the coming year, and the solutions driving development.

“The bumper issue of the journal is being distributed in the delegate bags and VIP areas. As the official host publication, ESI Africa is the only media house with an onsite studio where on-camera interviews will be conducted over the three days of African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa. Another activity is our sought-after roving camera team who will be visiting expo booths that have pre-booked interviews with us.”

The ESI Africa television studio is strategically positioned on the exhibition floor for easy access, says Nicolette: “this is where our team of editors will conduct professional on-camera interviews with conference speakers, VIP guests, and profiled attendees to reap their industry knowledge for our readers’ benefit.

“You can also rely on the editorial team to keep you posted on what’s happening as they will be reporting live from the conference sessions using the ESI Africa social media channels and website. We’re interested in connecting with as many people as possible, so look out for the team at the networking sessions, awards gala, and knowledge hubs.”

Visit http://www.african-utility-week.com, https://twitter.com/AfricaUtilities, Linkedin: African Utility Week.