South Africans are counting the personal cost of load shedding and it’s significant.
These are the findings of a survey conducted by InfoQuest/TrendER, a leading South African online research company.
Three hundred respondents, nationally representative of the online population, 18 years and older, were interviewed across all provinces in South Africa.
Almost 60% of respondents had at least one of their home appliances damaged or destroyed due to power surges as a result of load shedding, and one in two had lost the contents of their fridge at least once.
Small businesses affected
One in four respondents claim that their home operated business has been adversely affected, and of particular concern is that about one in ten have had a home invasion while their alarms have been inactive as a result of load shedding.
All of these consequences of load shedding have had an impact on the personal finances of consumers.
In addition to having to repair or replace household items, consumers are also having to finance ways of keeping the power on in their homes.
17% have purchased a generator, 16% have invested in solar power (to all or part of their home), and 14% have bought an inverter.
Just over one in two (55%) respondents have bought a gas stove to ensure that basic cooking can still occur.
Consumers’ expectations for the future of load shedding are pessimistic, with 55% believing that it will get worse.
Parents with children of 18 years and younger were asked what their children did when the power goes off and having no access to Wi-Fi.
Perhaps load shedding does have some socially positive outcomes, with 51% stating that their children socialise with family members during outages.
Other positive activities were: reading (29%), playing outside (40%), doing homework/studying (34%), and going for a walk (11%).
One in four children do nothing during load shedding, but simply wait for the power to be restored while 21% tend to sulk.
Consumers are having to dig deep into their pockets to alleviate some of the consequences and challenges of load shedding, putting greater financial strain on families in an already difficult economic environment.