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Thursday, June 1, 2006
Better late….

The power cuts have caused immense frustration for office workers, especially in smaller businesses that have lost business and valuable work time.

Colin Thornton, of Dial a Nerd who specialises in aiding computer users, says he has had numerous calls from PC users whose computers have ‘gone dead’ due to the power cuts. “Surges associated with power outages can have a detrimental effect on PCs and we suggest that users unplug their systems completely if they know that a scheduled power cut is about to occur.
“Power surges can damage your PC’s mother board as well as its internal ‘power supply’ systems, which usually make electrical power palatable for the PC, distributing it to all necessary components. These can be replaced but obviously at a cost.”
Caroline Da Silva, Head of Commercial Underwriting at Santam says, “Householders and businesses are able to take out what is known as ‘accidental damage’ insurance to protect appliances like their PCs against any mechanical or electrical damage caused during power cuts.
“You are able to add this cover to you existing policy which will obviously increase to the cost of your household or business insurance premiums.” Lightening and surge protection products are also available on the market that will protect your PC and reduce your risk.”
Da Silva adds that Santam will appoint an assessor who will decide whether your appliance needs to be replaced or can be repaired and will pay out accordingly.
Mr Thornton says the only way around the cuts for offices that require PCs is to install a UPS, a generator or solar power.
“A UPS or Uninterrupted Power Supply system basically runs electrical power through a battery, keeping it continuously charged. The battery then kicks into action when the power goes. A UPS sufficient to power a medium sized office for several hours would cost around R60 000.
“Generators are cheaper but noisy, messy and require fuel.
“Solar power is another, ‘greener’ option, which for a medium sized business using say 20 computers would cost around R500 000 to install.”
Meanwhile, here are a few ideas we have to help you cope with power cuts:
Don’t forget to back up your work; as they say, back up as often as you like, as little as you dare;
Keep your laptop fully charged, and copy key documents to it so you can continue working without interruption; and,
Delay work, such as document filing and phone calls for times when the power is off.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:19.3 1st June, 2006
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