A Litre For A Volt

Excuses to do with interrupted electricity supply might have held supreme once upon a time but noticeably not so much anymore when it comes to meeting deadlines, and especially if you are just starting out as a young professional and making a reputation for yourself as result-oriented.

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Due to aging plants and poor maintenance, about one-quarter of Africa’s 68 Gigawatts capacity has become unavailable. Zambia should henceforth learn from these countries before it on how best to deal with and eradicate the problem of irregular power supply since it is not the first African country to experience the same.

Regardless of the profession, businesses and industries that we work in need power to run, and it is therefore incumbent upon each and every individual to think about alternative power sources especially given the status quo of the nation today; and if the nation is to develop because from homemakers to qualified professionals, power in any form has become a lifeline for development.

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The common and usual way of doing things has long been the use of generator sets that run on gasoline. Depending on their size, they can go on for as long as 4 hours straight without any trouble. The small ones will probably power your computer and your telly through sockets, and maybe a handful of light bulbs. This method is expensive to both acquire and maintain so not everyone opts to go for it, although it tends to work well for big establishments like Guesthouses, play parks, etc.

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Another common way of doing things has been through the use of car batteries, preferably 2 in number, and connected to a power inverter that acts as the “middleman” between the batteries and the sockets by changing Direct current (DC, hereafter) to Alternating Current (AC, hereafter). The common advantage with going for this method is that the batteries are charged as soon as power is restored, and this is cheaper to acquire and to maintain. The power generated here will last you longer depending on what devices you connect to it, but it will last you about just as long as the generator set would should you connect to it your computer, the telly and some light bulbs.

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A novel and green method until recently in Zambia has been the use of solar panels and mounted at a higher elevation for maximum output. This like the battery method needs to be connected to a power inverter. The initial cost is however higher than the running cost which in turn means that it costs more to purchase than it does to maintain. The power generated from solar will run more devices for you, and might as well run your water heater with great ease. Because Zambia is generally hot all year round, solar will still generate power for you to use, even on that overcoated winter’s day.

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For cooking purposes, the gas stove now reigns supreme. Connect it to a 9 litre gas cylinder for longer usage, and this might last you for about 2 weeks if used to serve bigger homesteads. Remember, because gas is a hazard, take heed that nothing leaks through to cause harm and blow up the structure that it is used in, and like most good things, this might not be as cheap as you might want it to be so only the resourceful will opt to go this route.

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Alternatively, you can also use eco-charcoal for your cooking intents. This charcoal is manufactured by select organizations in the green industry in Lusaka. It burns longer, and is harvested and manufactured in an eco-friendly manner. During harvesting, the trees are cut not so close to the roots but at a specific point on the tree trunk which is cardinal to the regrowth of the disturbed tree, and during manufacturing, less carbon-dioxide is emitted to the Ozone layer. The disadvantage with using this method is that a 50KG bag will obviously cost you more than a 50KG bag of ordinary charcoal would.

With the rampant power cuts being experienced in Zambia, the nation like some African countries will need to get in line and find alternative ways to get by, especially with word on the street being that the situation won’t change, at least not for some time.

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