Load shedding is wreaking havoc on household appliances in South Africa

 ·29 Apr 2023

Load shedding is coming at a serious personal cost to South Africans, with power surges causing appliances to be damaged or destroyed.

In April last year, TrendER/infoQuest, an online research provider in South Africa, looked at the effects of load shedding on South African consumers. One year later, the survey noted several major increases in several areas relating to damages.

The study interviewed 300 respondents across all the provinces in South Africa.

The findings found that close to three out of four South Africans had at least one home appliance damaged or destroyed due to load shedding. This marks a major increase from the 57% recorded in the 2022 study.

The loss of fridge contents has also increased from 50% in 2022 to 67% in 2023.

In addition, 31% of respondents said that their home-operated businesses had been seriously affected by load shedding – up from 21% in 2022.

Gate motor destruction or damage also increased from 15% to 27%.

With load shedding also making security cameras ineffective, a rise in burglary/home invasions has also been detected – up to 16% from 11%.

Consumers are not only repairing and replacing household items but are also financing ways to keep the power on in their homes.

Purchasing or hiring generators (34%) is the most common way to add power due to Eskom’s power supply woes, with inverters and solar power not far behind (both at 24%).

Moreover, 58% of respondents have installed a gas stove.

80% of respondents said that they had made alternative arrangements to limit the effect of load shedding.

“Compared with a year ago, South Africans are having to dip even deeper into their pockets to alleviate some of the consequences and challenges of load shedding,” said Mogorosi Mashilo, MD of TrendER/infoQuest.

“This puts strain on the consumer in an already tough economic climate. Marketers also need to take note of the changes in consumer behaviour and shopping habits that are becoming more evident. All of these factors contribute to the “new normal” of the South African consumer in an environment that appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.”

Load shedding expectations 

Consumers are pessimistic about the future of load shedding, with 58% believing that it will get worse over the next year.

Males tend to be more positive than females when it comes to the outlook on load shedding, while older South Africans are more pessimistic than younger age categories.

Below are the expectations for the year ahead for all age groups:

Read: Big push for new smart meters to stop load shedding

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