Load shedding: Portable power station donation gives Gauteng woman freedom to breathe



  • Jessica Putter says she is planning a picnic with her grandson after receiving a portable power station.
  • Putter suffers from interstitial lung disease and requires a 24-hour electrical oxygen concentrator to help him breathe.
  • She says the power plant helped set her free.

For months, Jessica Putter couldn’t leave her home because she depended on an oxygen concentrator to breathe.

Now, thanks to the donation of a portable power station, she plans to go picnicking with her grandson on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, News24 shared Putter’s struggles during the offload.

She has interstitial lung disease caused by two autoimmune diseases and requires a 24-hour electric oxygen concentrator to help her breathe.

Putter has had to rely on his portable battery-operated rechargeable oxygen concentrator when there is load shedding for long hours.

She sometimes had to charge the oxygen concentrator with her car battery.

After reading his story, Lee Hodgins, co-founder of Jackery South Africa, donated the Explorer500 to Putter.

The machine, which has a 500WH lithium-ion battery and a 500W inverter, can run its concentrator for up to seven hours.

READ | Woman dependent on electric oxygen tank to breathe says shedding is life-threatening

Putter said the machine changed his life.

“Now I can power my portable backup unit and not have to panic. I can even charge my phone in case I need to make an emergency call.”

She added that thanks to the machine, she can now regain her life.

“It changed my life even more than expected. Since my relapse, I haven’t left my house more than my hospital visits for over a year.

“Directly to the hospital and directly at home. I can’t sit outside for more than 50 minutes in the sun watching my granddaughter play. She always asks, “Ama, when I can breathe one day, can we go on a picnic?”

Putter said that because the machine was portable, she could now plan a picnic with her grandson.

“Now I can plan a picnic at the botanical garden with the family. Not only do I feel safe knowing that shedding can’t hurt me, but [the] Cricerie [machine] gave me back a real life. A way to be outside for hours. I can also visit friends and family even if they have load shedding.”

Hodgins said: “I read the story on News24…and I felt sorry for her. We all see load shedding as an inconvenience when we don’t have Wi-Fi or can’t watch TV. You quickly forget that there are people who, for them, it’s a life or death scenario.”

Jessica Putter with the portable power station given to her.

He added that talking to Putter made her realize how much she needed the machine.

“There are so many people who need something. We just didn’t want to give her something she could afford. It was clear she had exhausted all her options.

“When I spoke to her, she said there were people who needed it more than her. She wasn’t there to grab with both hands. It wasn’t a give me, give attitude. -me.”

Hodgins said the company has been operational in the country for three years.

“There is massive demand, it’s hard to keep up. The demand is outstripping the supply.”

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