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Beat the Blackouts with Uninterrupted Power Supply

Despite being a commodity that millions of consumers have become dependent upon, mains electricity is something on which South Africans can no longer rely. The repeated failure by Eskom to maintain an uninterrupted power supply to homes and businesses has attracted a great deal of controversy in recent years. Whether that failure is the result of mismanagement, underfunding, or a combination of both appears equally controversial. Nevertheless, the ever-increasing frequency of load shedding has become a source of chaos and uncertainty both for the nation’s citizens and for many of its important industries.

South Africans have responded in several ways to overcome the blackouts. While a few have simply learned to put up with a few hours of darkness and blank TV screens and to settle for candlelight, conversation, and cooking with gas, others have embraced ways to maintain an uninterrupted power supply by producing their own electricity. For households and small businesses, the most common option is to purchase a small petrol-driven generator while industrial plants require the much higher generating capacity of a larger diesel-driven unit.

For those who have invested in solar panels and storage batteries, the technology offers the means to create a reserve of stored energy upon which to call when the national service provider is unable to meet the growing demand of its consumers. However, a solar installation is costly, while generators consume fossil fuels and produce emissions at a time when the world needs to reduce its carbon footprint. An uninterrupted power supply is not just a desirable goal; it is also the name given to an item of equipment that is helping many frustrated Eskom customers to achieve that goal. Furthermore, it does not consume fossil fuels.

So, How Does It Work?

Generally referred to as a UPS, technically the first letter of the acronym stands for “uninterruptible”. However, regardless of the semantics, it provides a means for the consumer to ensure a seamless switch between the mains supply and that from a battery when the former fails. In essence, an uninterrupted power supply operates in a manner quite similar to that of a solar installation by switching between mains and battery power as required. The difference between the two technologies lies in how the battery is charged. Solar panels convert the energy from sunlight into electricity by means of the photovoltaic effect. A portion of this may be consumed directly for tasks like heating or lighting, while any excess is used to charge up the storage batteries. By contrast, in a UPS, the battery receives its charge from the mains supply at those times when it is available and then releases the stored energy for use when it is not.

The uninterrupted or uninterruptible power supply can be useful in a number of different scenarios ranging from small-scale domestic uses to commercial and industrial applications, depending upon its design and configuration. Each type of UPS has certain basic components in common of which the first is an inverter. This changes alternating current to direct when charging and reverses the process when switching to battery power. Next of course, will be the battery itself while the transfer switch serves to detect changes in the mains supply, switching between this and the battery output as indicated.

In the home, for example, a simple and inexpensive form of the device could ensure an uninterrupted power supply that could prevent loss of data or damage to a PC in the event of an unexpected mains outage. On a much larger scale, the nation’s banks and other financial establishments rely on more sophisticated models to protect vital transaction data stored on multiple servers.

While Eskom is unable to maintain an uninterrupted supply of mains power, the UPS will remain essential, as will the expertise of the PaCB Group, the local leader in innovative power solutions.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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