The effects of load shedding and how we can ALL work together
Country-wide, the hottest topic at the moment, is the impact of loadshedding.
The recent round started with Stage 2 loadshedding being implemented on Friday and being continued on Saturday morning. Then Stage 2 rolled over to Stage 3 and shortly thereafter, Stage 4 loadshedding was implemented, leaving most of the country with only a few hours of access to electricity within a 24 hour cycle.
When Eskom implements loadshedding, we at Atlas learn about it at the exact same moment as everybody else in the country. As such we had very little warning that in essence, four groups were going to be switched off simultaneously for four and a half hours at a time.
Later on Saturday evening, Eskom sent out a notice that Stage 2 would take effect from 10pm until the following morning. This being the first time that loadshedding was carried through a 24-hour cycle. Areas that were affected during the day with almost 9 hours of downtime, were now being switched off again.
As a private security company which relies on the power utility, Eskom in order to be able to provide service to our clients, we – as thousands of businesses and service providers in the country – are under significant pressure as a result of their non-performance.
Stage 4 loadshedding places enormous strain on Atlas Security’s Control Room and other resources. Our Armed Response Vehicles are also reacting to a largely increased number of alarms during this stage – most of which are false alarms owing to loadshedding. At the same time our staff are contacting high volumes of customers whose batteries have died, whilst also contacting customers whose alarms are going off. This means our capacity to answer incoming calls is reduced.
Unfortunately the impact and ramifications of Eskom’s prolonged Stage 4 loadshedding is far bigger than we could have ever imagined. It’s placing significant strain on service providers, cellular networks, businesses and also on our service to you.
Atlas Security has a duty to ensure that you, your family and friends are secure and that we react at the fastest possible time in an emergency situation. At the same time, you have a responsibility to ensure your alarm is in good working order and that your battery is able to sustain possible long periods of usage. Neglecting to ensure your alarm system and battery are in good working order could unfortunately result in you becoming a victim.
Naturally, when the electricity supply halts, batteries powering intruder detection systems and other security systems are put under pressure. This is exacerbated when loadshedding picks up pace, more particularly at the current level of load shedding. We understand during this time it is possible to feel vulnerable – and even paranoid – but now, more so than ever before, we have to work together to get through this unnecessary “event”. There are also less direct, but equally dangerous consequences of loadshedding, such as street lights and traffic lights being down at night. This places a greater burden on motorists driving home through load shedded areas in the dark.
- Service delivery in terms of response are under enormous pressure due to the fact that signal volumes increase owing to low battery and AC fail signals
- Response times can also be affected due to our response vehicles having to deal with traffic congestion due to traffic lights being out of order
- Technical service delivery is also under pressure due to more and more system failures as a result of Eskom’s Loadshedding
How can WE work together?
We have brought in additional staff to deal with the high influx of calls.
Our technical department will now be working 24 hours a day to attend to as many of the dead batteries in the shortest time possible.
Armed Response is still on the ground, responding as fast as is possible to alarms.
If possible, invest in a backup power supply for your house – be it a generator, battery bosster system, inverter, solar panels or a combination of these – to keep essential lights, appliances, electric gates and security systems running. Shop around for a UPS, which you can plug into your alarm system, this is extremely helpful and handy, since when loadshedding occurs there is no dip in the electricity, meaning that the alarm system stays armed and the risk of damage to your panel is minimised.
Just like you, we have to plan for the ultimate worse going forward, as Eskom is unable to provide us with adequate answers as to when this will end. In the meantime, we can assure you that we are working through every alarm and speaking to as many clients as possible. We are all feeling the effects – now we need to work together!
All our alarm user manuals, which may assist you, can by found here
Home and business owners can stay informed about load shedding by accessing schedules at their local municipal offices or by visiting the Eskom website on www.eskom.co.za.