Load shedding has become a regular occurrence that we must endure at frequent intervals across the country. Load shedding has caused problems for businesses across all sectors, and along with it comes a host of problems for sectional title schemes that are a major risk for homeowners. Let’s take a closer look at these risks and how body corporates can mitigate them.
Load shedding risks
Security measures such as access controlled gates, security cameras, outside lights, and alarms often cannot function during load shedding. This means that, without for example generators, a sectional title scheme is left at a much higher risk to be a victim of crime. The entire scheme will be left in darkness without adequate security measures. This is a major risk to every homeowner within the scheme and it leaves the scheme vulnerable whenever there is load shedding.
Load shedding poses a fire hazard in situations where appliances have been left on. For example, hair dryers on beds or stoves that have been left on when load shedding hits. When the power comes back on, these are often forgotten and can pose a serious risk to the entire unit if they catch on fire. Another risk is using candles during load shedding, which can easily tip over and set curtains on fire.
Tips for sectional title schemes during load shedding
If a sectional title chooses to invest in a generator, it’s a good idea to get one generator for the entire scheme instead of various different generators. The scheme must comply with the procedure set out in Prescribed Management Rule 29 (Annexure 1 to the Regulations under the STSMA) if the installation involves changes to the common property. A unanimous resolution is required if the improvement is not reasonably necessary. If the improvement however is reasonably necessary, members must be given 30 days written notice of the proposal and a special resolution would only be required if any member within the 30 days requests a meeting to discuss the proposal. A special levy may be imposed to cover the costs of the generator.
From a safety point of view, it is suggested that at least one pathway or stairway should be lit up during load shedding, and there should be clear communications for residents to use this pathway.
Changing the roles of the security guards or adding security guards during load shedding, particularly at night, is a good option for schemes that need it.
Generators shouldn’t be run inside garages or houses; they should only be used outdoors.
The scheme should check the most hazardous areas in the common property and make sure that those are secured for times of load shedding.
The trustees need to be responsible for the common property areas, to minimise any loss or damage during load shedding. Trustees should also take the lead on the use of generators, as these can be a hazard if they aren’t used correctly.
Each homeowner should familiarise themselves with their garage doors or gate motors so that they know how to operate these during times of load shedding.
A financial solution for sectional titles
Project Loans is a solution from Propell for body corporates and homeowners’ associations who want to mitigate the risks of load shedding. There are various ways that this financial solution can be used for sectional titles, such as security upgrades, repairs to damage caused by load shedding and purchasing generators or installing solar panels. Often, schemes simply aren’t prepared for these major expenses, and a special levy isn’t always possible to recoup such a large amount immediately. This is where Project Loans come in as a useful tool for schemes.
Security systems are an example of a major capital item on a maintenance, report and replacement plan that must be in place in terms of PMR22. The plan is being funded from contributions to the reserve fund, but Project Loans can, and is, being used for security projects to have the full amount available immediately to implement the project.
Load shedding leaves schemes vulnerable, and one way to mitigate this is to upgrade the security measures in a scheme and be as prepared as you can to decrease the element of risk as much as possible. Upgrades to security measures such as electric fences, alarms, CCTV and more can be covered by the Project Loans solution. The revolving loans facility allows sectional title schemes to draw money whenever needed for important and time-sensitive projects.