We have all become far too familiar with load shedding in South Africa. We wrote about loadshedding generally for the first time in 2014, when we took the view that it is likely to stay with us for a while, and eight years on, we are finding risks and claims in this arena on the rise.
In this blog post, we would like to revisit mitigation related to load shedding with a more focused approach. Let’s call it miti-shedding !
Risks related to loadshedding
One area of particular concern is common property items, where claims arise following power surges due to loadshedding. Load shedding does not only create damage-related risks, but the regular outages put the scheme at risk in other ways too, for example, dark passages, unlit common areas, gates and booms, security fences and so on. Slip and fall injuries during a once-off outage is one thing, but as outages are a foreseen occurrence, one can hardly argue that the safety risks were unforeseen.
We also see a much higher number of power surge claims after load shedding, especially on items such as gate motors.
Mitigation of risks
In our view, bodies corporate should be looking for ways to secure premises during outages and find alternative means of lighting the common areas.
One possible solution is solar powered lights for the common property which are quite affordable. A solar powered lighting system will not only solve safety issues, it is also a greener option which saves electricity.
We have recently seen a 40-unit complex secure all their common area lighting in this way. The outlay for the project was R88,000 (all inclusive), a mere R2,200 capital outlay per owner or less than R60 per month per owner over 5 years, effectively. The scheme in question had the added problem that the existing passage lighting relied on the adjacent owners switching on these lights, which was a problem anyway. Also, much of the common area was previously lit by a spotlight, with its strong appetite for power. This solution was structured within the maintenance plan and taking electricity savings into account, the owners in this scheme will collectively benefit for very little outlay, or none (if the savings are substantial enough).
This kind of solution is smart in more than one way; not only will owners be safer but greener too, plus insurance risks and claims are further reduced or prevented which eventually impacts positively on the insurance premium as well.
In summary, we see the following as advantages:
- Security of common area supply
- Safety improved
- Reduction of liability risks e.g., slip and fall injury claims against the body corporate
- Reduction of other risks such as security lapses, power surge damage, wear and tear.
- Electricity savings
- Greener option for the greater good
Author: Mike Addison, Addsure
Addsure is South Africa’s leading sectional title insurance brokerage. Obtain fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact our head office, Cape Town (021) 551 5069 who will put you directly in touch with one of our nationwide advisors.