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Your SME, load shedding and insurance: what you need to know

Article provided by King Price Insurance

Load shedding can make it tricky for many SMEs to keep their lights on and doors open. And, apart from its impact on your operations, load shedding comes with insurance considerations too.

Computers and other electronic equipment are at particular risk of being damaged by power surges, which often occur when the power comes back on, so it’s worth installing surge protectors and UPS (uninterruptable power supply) systems at your business premises. A UPS allows you to shut your equipment down properly when the power goes off and stops power surges from wreaking havoc when the power comes back on.

It’s important to check your business insurance policy to see if you’re covered for damage from power surges. In general, damage due to power surges that result from load shedding can’t be claimed from your insurance company, but from your municipality. However, you might be able to claim for other damages from your insurer, depending on the terms of your policy.

It’s also worth checking that the back-up batteries for your alarm system, electric fence and other security measures are in tip-top condition. You don’t want to be left exposed when the lights go out.

If your business-critical processes rely on uninterrupted power, chances are you have generators at your business premises – and again, there are certain precautions you should take when installing these if you want to stay on the right side of your insurer.

Here are King Price Insurance’s top tips for staying covered and charged safely during load shedding.

Do your homework. Know what your alternative power options are, and the pros and cons of each:

  • An inverter changes DC power from a battery into AC power that you can use to operate all kinds of devices. Obviously, it needs a battery pack to be useful. These batteries are either charged by solar or from the grid while the power is on.
  • A portable generator is the little generator on wheels that you see people buying in their dozens at Makro and Builders Warehouse over the weekend. They’re relatively cheap and easy to operate but can’t keep big equipment running.
  • Stationary generators are usually slightly bigger units that are installed permanently, and switch on automatically when the power goes off. They’re more expensive but have greater capacity.

Stay safe. Apart from keeping your lights on, the different power options all have one thing in common: They must comply with safety guidelines and be installed by a professional.

It’s also essential that portable generators are operated in open areas with good air flow, to prevent carbon monoxide build-up, and that fuel is stored safely in an area with adequate ventilation.

Stay covered. Make sure your generator’s insured, in case it’s stolen or struck by lightning.

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