Homeware stores report a 60% year on year increase in website searches like hot water bottle, candle and flashlight. These are baby steps. You don’t need to become an off-grid survivalist to learn a few of our tricks. This head torch (In the UK – https://amzn.to/3ATUbfG) for example – may look a tad eccentric, but its more convenient during a blackout than candles or a handheld flashlight – you are walking around in your own pool of light!
Batteries last a month of daily use, wich is fortunate since the UK National Grid warned lights could go out on “those deepest, darkest evenings in January and February” because of reduced gas imports from Europe. In the US, major cities are finding that extreme weather can easily disrupt their utility supply, randomly and with increasing regularity.
Both American and British grid-tied households are apprehensive about what to expect. The ideas and products in this list will help you take back control of your power bill, and save money from reduced energy consumption.
1. Work and comms
Top of the list for the WFA generation is a reliable internet connection and long battery life. If you have a laptop make sure its low-energy – (the latest HP https://amzn.to/3XLHhdN, or Apple 13” Macbook https://amzn.to/3ipApSS, both last over 13 hours of use). Mobile phones with a good battery life include the Android Asus https://amzn.to/3UgKO0I and this Apple https://amzn.to/3OP0SFy
You can connect the laptop via your mobile phone’s personal wifi hotspot. Alternatively, buy a data dongle that plugs into your laptop (and feeds off its battery) to connect it to the internet via the mobile phone network- best for international is the Huwai https://amzn.to/3Fd03mO – A mifi dongle does the same thing, plus allows several devices to wirelessly use the connection. Both these options require a data plan from a mobile phone provider.
2. Uninterruptible power supply
For your home broadband connection, Most most modern gas boilers need a permanent electricity supply, so if your power goes down then so does your central heating you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which has a battery. A mid-range model can keep a typical 12V router seamlessly connected for a day, and a hot water pump in the evening. An APC UPS by Schneider Electric https://amzn.to/3EO6jQK for around £380 promises to keep a router and smartphone charger running for almost a day The more devices you plug in the shorter the UPS will last.
3. Battery pack
Either get yourself a big battery or a small one that fits in your purse or pocket – dont bother with the ones in between
Small portable battery packs charge your mobile phone, (like this one from Anker – https://amzn.to/3ucfDsB )when you are on the go, but are less handy in a blackout. Just make sure the power pack itself stays charged.
Big batteries like Bluetti and Jackery can set …