We’ve found a cheap UPS solution for load shedding, which we thought we’d share in case it helps others. Like many people who work in the age of intelligence, we are totally dependent on the Internet to work. No Internet and we can’t do anything. The loss in productivity is significant (no more practical and affordable legal solutions) and very hard to plan for because load shedding takes place at different times. You can get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for each computer or a big UPS, a generator or some other form of alternative power to keep everything going during load shedding. Problem is that two and a half hours is a long time to keep many things going. It gets expensive to buy something that can generate that much power.
After trying various options, we have found a solution that works for us. Both at the office and at each of our houses. Instead of trying to keep everything going, we focussed on the essentials. Each of us uses a Macbook or laptop, which has a battery in it that lasts at least three hours, but how do we keep the Internet and the phones going?
A UPS Solution for Load Shedding at the office
At the office we have a fiber optic line from Internet Solutions. To work it needs a switch, a router and a modem. We also have a phone, which has a base station. Together they need about 65W of power to run. We bought a UPS for about R1,300 (two 12V 9AH batteries) from takealot that can keep those things going for about three hours. Problem solved. When the power goes out, our Internet stays on and we continue to work. The key factor for choosing a UPS is not the VA rating (how much load it can take), but rather the size of the battery because that determines how long it can power things for. A critical requirement is obviously that your broadband will continue to work if the power goes off. Ours does, but apparently not everyone is so lucky. I think it depends on the exchange that you connect to.
A UPS Solution for Load Shedding at home
The solution is the same as for the office, but at home you probably only have one modem or router, which needs less power (about 30W). So, you can get a UPS with a smaller battery. We use a UPS that costs about R610 (one 12V 9AH batteries) from Laptop Direct or Computer Mania and has only one battery in it (the one above has two batteries so lasts for double the time). Works like a charm. Powering less, it last for about three hours. You can also get a LED Solar Camping Lantern so that you have light and charge your phone via USB. If you boil a kettle before load shedding, you can also have coffee. What more do you need?