Load shedding, faulty alarm systems and insurance risks

Issue 7 2022 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

As South Africa continues to experience frequent bouts of load shedding, security systems can be severely compromised due to lead-acid batteries – an old technology still used in security systems. The question arises whether the home or premises is covered by insurance in the case of a homeowner activating their alarm while load shedding strikes and the backup battery fails.

Michael Rogers, MD of rechargeable battery manufacturer Uniross, says this will depend on the insurer and whether an ‘alarm warranty’ is specified in the insurance policy. “Generally, if the insurance policy requires an alarm together with an armed response service, then the alarm must be set every time the householder leaves the home. If the alarm isn’t set, even by accident, the insurance company may not be obliged to provide cover for theft or burglary.

“The type of battery used in a security alarm can therefore create or alleviate the problem,” says Rogers. “Most alarm systems use lead-acid batteries for backup power, but this is an old technology and not suited to the frequent power outages typical of load shedding. Homeowners can replace their lead-acid batteries with new lithium-based technology to avoid these risks. Using lithium will help to ensure that the alarm system is powered at all times, irrespective of the frequency of power outages.”

He explains that lead batteries were designed for infrequent use and for short periods of time. “If a lead battery is repeatedly run flat, it will result in premature failure. Generally, lead batteries are not capable of being discharged below 50%, and if they are, it causes damage to the battery.

“When this same battery is powering an alarm or other security device, the homeowner will not know how deeply it has been discharged. In this instance security must take preference. The level of discharge of the battery should not be a factor in determining whether the security system is functioning or not.”

When the lead battery is depleted with each bout of load shedding, soon it will only last a few minutes, let alone the few hours needed to get through the blackout.

“It is therefore prudent to use a battery that is better suited to security systems and the challenges that load shedding brings,” says Rogers. “New-technology lithium batteries are better than lead batteries in most respects, in particular because they can run completely flat (100% depth of discharge) without causing damage to the battery, making lithium ideally suited to all security systems. In addition, lithium batteries can be used up to 2000 times as opposed to 250-300 times with a lead battery.”




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

The technology behind Distributed Acoustic Sensing
XtraVision Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Access Control & Identity Management Products
FOTAS is a fibre optic based Distributed Acoustic Sensor; the solution is a combination of optics, electronics, and computer science, which together make this device as effective as it is.

Read more...
Stafix introduces the JVA Cloud Router app
Stafix Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Products
The JVA Cloud Router app allows you to arm and disarm energisers, view your electric fence voltages, open and close relays through any Android or iOS device.

Read more...
CIAS chosen for complex perimeters
XtraVision Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
The challenge was to guarantee the ROI (return on investment) based on the technological amortization of at least 10 years of service, right from the design phase.

Read more...
Texecom launches the Midnight Black Collection
Technews Publishing Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Products
Working in harmony with darker environments, the Midnight Black Collection has been created for businesses and sites that require or prefer a security solution which offers discreet protection that compliments their surroundings.

Read more...
XtraVision Facilitates Integration
XtraVision Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
XtraVision, a global distributor of SAMM FOTAS DAS fibre intrusion detection technology and ARTECO Video Even Management Software, in the South African, African, and South American regions, has recently facilitated the integration between the two manufacturers.

Read more...
Olarm product highlights for 2022
Olarm Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Products
Olarm rapidly expanded its ecosystem in 2022 with several new products, the launch of its training academy, and a presence in Gauteng.

Read more...
Smart home security
Olarm Smart Home Automation Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Products
The applied use of smart technology within the Olarm ecosystem, through smart features coupled with existing systems, extends the benefits of technology into different spheres.

Read more...
Be cautious when receiving deliveries at home
News Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Security Services & Risk Management
Community reports of residents being held up at their gate when collecting fast food deliveries at home are once again surfacing.

Read more...
Banks move to lithium battery technology for intruder systems
Uniross Batteries Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
With advances in battery technology, lithium batteries now include a built-in Battery Management System (BMS) to monitor the battery and shut it down should there be a risk of a failure or overheating.

Read more...
Future-proofed intrusion detection for retail
Elvey Security Technologies Retail (Industry) Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Products
One of the ongoing challenges that has faced retailers during their adoption of security technology is the issues caused by non-standardisation of technology.

Read more...