CBAR Load shedding advisory –Keeping you in the Loop- December 2019
Dear Valued CBAR Client,
CBAR has received various notifications from Alarm Communication service providers, as well as from Vodacom with regard to the load shedding currently being experienced.
A national supplier of GPRS communication on the Vodacom and MTN network stated that some clients might experience slow, limited or no signal communication during power outages. Load shedding and the resulting repeat power failures, pose a risk to the availability of all data services across all the cellular networks. GPRS radio signals may also be affected in some instances. The installation of a VHF radio transmitter should be used as backup and secondary means of alarm communication.
Should you have any queries regarding your alarm and load shedding please contact our technical department on 0860 151515 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vodacom sent out a notification: “customers’ country wide will be experiencing issues connecting to the network because of stage 4 load shedding currently in place. Their “towers do use battery backups which have limited power and will eventually fail. Generators have also been utilized at numerous sites across the country.”
This may result in the CBAR monitoring centre not being able to contact you on your cellular phone to inform you of an alarm activation. It is our company policy to dispatch a response vehicle to the client on receiving a burglary or panic signal, even if NO contact can be made telephonically.
The SMS service is also affected, as our SMS’s sent out during power outages for AC fails, AC restorals, as well as a myriad of other signals are reliant on the networks. They are sent out via modems and only get delivered by the networks some time after power is restored. This results in delayed SMS’s being received by some clients as there is a bottleneck on the 1000’s of SMS’s generated and sent out during each load shedding period.
CBAR may reduce the number of SMS’s sent out in the near future, as there are many phone calls made to clients regarding an alarm signal or activation that are duplicated by an SMS. These SMS’s are being delivered late, as we, like other security service providers, are reliant on network availability of 3rd party service providers that have been disrupted through a network issue or load shedding.
Please note: Load shedding has a direct impact on the Monitoring and Armed Response service. The Monitoring Centre receives a much higher number of alarm signals and this may result in a delay in either contacting you as the client or a potential delay in responding to your property due to the volumes of signals received or traffic congestion, especially during peak hours.
We attach part of the March 2019 Newsflash pertaining to load shedding.
CBAR has implemented additional measures quite some time ago to deal with abnormally high levels of alarm activations that will certainly have an effect on the Central Monitoring Centre (CMC) during load shedding. Both the duration taken to call back clients as well as response times due to high volumes of signals received will increase. CBAR will prioritise load shedding areas as these areas become more vulnerable to criminals during these outages. Criminals will take advantage of the dark areas and by studying load shedding time tables, they will know when and where to increase their activity. In response CBAR will rotate our assets on the road to match areas with power outages.
What happens to your alarm during load shedding?
Note: Power surges caused by unprecedented levels of load shedding, may result in the alarm panel blowing. Your alarm system is made of electronic components and may at any time cease to work. It is advisable to have some surge protection installed, even the use of surge protection plugs are advised. Other electrical appliances such as televisions, decoders and fridges may be affected by the power surges. Older alarms and transformers have no element of surge protection.
Alarm systems should ideally have dual monitoring which means that the alarm signal is transmitted to the CMC via either radio transmitter, GPRS radio or telephone. Just using telephone monitoring is not an adequate medium for alarm monitoring, and a radio transmitter should be linked to the alarm. Telkom lines may fail during load shedding.
What happens in our CMC when there is load shedding?
Please be advised that if an entire area is affected, it is not possible to call all the clients as it would be an almost impossible task whilst still dealing with the standard burglary, panic, 24 hour test and opening and closing signals.
CBAR has standby technicians available 24 hours a day. After hours call out rates are charged after 5pm on weekdays and over weekends and public holidays. There could be a significant delay in getting a technician to attend to your alarm fault due to logistical reasons during load shedding.
Our CMC is contactable on 0860 151515 all hours.
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Best wishes and kind regards for the festive season.
Alan Kusevitsky and the CBAR Team