As the country faces its first onslaught of what the winter months hold in
store accompanied by the expected load shedding as electricity demand shoots
up to cope with the sudden drop in temperature, South Africans have their
first warning of how the increased demand of the colder months is going to
impact on South Africa's already beleaguered electricity supply - and this
is just the start. Consumers and business owners are being warned to get
their orders in for generators as long lead times of 10-16 weeks could leave
them in the dark, cold and out of business this winter.
This is according to Craig Silver, Managing Director of Generator Logic. "A
decent sized generator to power at least the most crucial appliances in your
household or business is not an 'off the shelf' item and should be ordered
in line with what your needs requirements are in the event of an extended
power outage. The same goes for businesses as there are no readily
available products from any retail chain that can even attempt to meet the
requirements of keeping an office or small retail operation in business.
There is a lot of ignorance out in the market place and people believe they
can go to their local hardware and purchase a 3 or 4 kVA set from the local
hardware, plug it in and hey presto! These small sets can do little more
than boil the kettle. The truth is preparing for the outages takes a lot
more planning, especially in the long term. For a start, you will need to
do a total needs assessment of all the items you need to run in an outage
and secondly, get an electrician to install the necessary transfer switch to
ensure the safe use of the generator through your office or home circuitry,"
Engines and components are built to order and imported from all over the
world, especially from China which is dealing with its own set of power
issues after the recent aftermath of snow storms in the region. "This has
pushed back supply and furthermore, every time we have a bout of load
shedding locally, the lead times become longer as more orders are added,"
explains Craig. 'Whole house' sets designed to manage the electricity
supply to keep an entire home operational are in huge demand and anyone
wanting a 13kVA set or bigger needs to get their order in now. Lead times
are already sitting at over 10 weeks from most major suppliers," he adds.
Needs assessments - the right generator for the electrical load
"It is important to determine the requirements of the electrical service and
load to ensure the correct size of generator and transfer switch. Before
contacting a generator company, have the following basic information below
at hand - this is a basic list and any additional appliances must be added.
Forgetting about the koi pond pump and filtration system could see a very
expensive investment go belly up," explains Craig.
A good estimate of what size generator is required to run your household in
the event of a blackout is obtained by adding up the total Watts needed to
run all of your listed appliances in the above table, divided by 1000 - this
will give you the total KW required to run your household or business
effectively. You will also need to know whether your electricity supply is
single or three phase.
. Always ensure that you work with a supplier who offers an in-depth power
consulting service through qualified electrical engineers to ensure that
your generator meets your needs and that your home, family and business are
never compromised," says Craig.