Energy Central Professional


Alarms tripped by load shedding causing sleepless nights

Chevon Booysen  


    Cape Town - Added to the inconvenience of load shedding, a home security client said a “kink” in the company’s system was causing sleepless nights as he received emergency-related calls from their control room.

    The Fidelity ADT client, who asked that his name be withheld to prevent victimisation, said the calls from the company happened during every outage, when his alarm’s panic button tripped.

    “ADT calls me every time there is load shedding to say my panic button has been activated, and they want to know if they should send an armed response vehicle.

    “However, my panic button is not activated; it is to do with load shedding and a kink in their system, but instead of fixing it, they inflict it on me as a client.

    “This is especially bad in the middle of the night when we have load shedding and the phone rings. Imagine receiving this call after every outage!

    “It is a problem and it seems its a kink in their system that they are just not able to sort out.

    “They still phone me after every load-shedding outage. People from ADT who I have spoken to said it affects quite a few people. It’s really irritating, but also a risk in the middle of the night,” he said.

    ADT confirmed they were aware of several such complaints. They said it was the client’s responsibility to ensure their systems were “up to date”.

    Fidelity Services Group spokesperson Charnel Hattingh said load shedding could wreak havoc with their clients’ alarm systems, and increased the number of signals received at their control rooms.

    “Our monitoring centre agents need to identify which signals are true emergencies, versus those that are false activations. Our investigations have shown that in the majority of cases, these activations are caused by malfunctioning equipment.

    “There are several factors that could cause a false signal, with the most common reason being an aged or worn battery which no longer has sufficient capacity to provide power for the duration of the power outages, or enough time to recharge with the current levels of load shedding the country is experiencing.

    “In most cases, both gel and lead batteries, with the latter being the cheaper option, are not designed to operate optimally with the current electricity crisis.

    “As the battery cycles become over -used, their charges lessen over time, or they are unable to charge sufficiently before the next power outage. The consequence is they need to be replaced far more frequently than before,” said Hattingh.

    The company has advised clients to regularly test their alarm systems so they do not become vulnerable.

    “We recommend that homeowners and business owners test their alarm and security systems on a regular basis.

    This has become more important now than ever before. The battery back-up system is a crucial element that needs to be tested to give you the peace of mind that it will still offer monitoring and protection when the power goes out,” said Hattingh.

    Further safety precautions residents should take at their properties during load shedding included remaining vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to the SAPS.

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    Cape Times


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