Regardless of who is to blame for the current electricity crisis, we have to deal with the reality that South Africa has a power crisis. Currently the tropical storm that hit Mozambique has removed a large amount of our supply from the national grid, and with an aging power production system we are likely to see these problems several times over the next few years. So it’s not a bad idea to prepare for it.
As Forex traders we can really struggle with power outages. Not only losing out on potential trades, but not being able to manage existing trades. So we can’t close a trade at the right profit point or even worse, we cannot stop a losing trade early enough.
If you typically lose power for 2.5 hours then there are a few things you can do which won’t cost an arm and a leg. The first thing is to make sure you have the Meta Trader app on your phone, and you are logged in to your main trading account. Almost any phone should last at least 2.5 hours with even 50% battery charge. Then its a case of making sure you have data!
Some areas might have issues with cellphone connectivity during power outages, you’ll find your phone unable to connect to 3g and you can only get the much slower data connection. If this is the case, then close all currency pairs that you are not currently trading to reduce the required bandwidth to your phone. While it is a very small amount of data that needs to be transferred, we all know how frustratingly slow your internet can be.
The most important thing to do during load shedding, is to make sure you have your stop losses and take profits in place!
JP Markets hosts our trading servers in a building that resembles a bunker. With multiple redundant power supplies and internet connections. It would take an earth shattering catastrophic disaster for those servers to go down. And your stop losses and take profits are recorded and activated on those servers.
So even if you lose power and connectivity, your trades will still close at the desired price levels.
Trading groups and professional traders might want to consider something a lot more stable than relying on battery power of cellphones and laptops. This is where you would need to invest more in a proper solution, but for a group of forex traders or a single larger trader this should pay itself off very quickly.
The ideal situation is where you can lose power and not notice anything at all. Eskom can turn off for days, but you stay connected.
To achieve this you would need a few things. A good UPS and a generator. The UPS would need to keep your devices powered long enough for your generator to kick in. It is very important that you calculate how many watts your PC, chargers, lights, modem, router and anything else you run so that you can purchase a UPS and generator powerful enough to keep things running.
For a solo trader this would not be too much of an issue because you won’t be drawing a lot of power. But for trading groups in an office, you would most definitely need an electrician to come and inspect to recommend what units you need to purchase including installation.
I know a few traders running off fairly stock standard UPS’s and a 2.5kva generator but they all trade in their own office or home.
Internet redundancy is also quite important. While your internet connection is often still live during a power outtage and you just need to power your modem and/or router, sometimes it does go down. So its not a bad idea to use multiple technologies. Many modern ADSL and Fiber routers will have a USB at the back where you can plug in a 3g dongle. So if the main internet connection dies, it will automatically connect to 3g to keep you going.
In that event, your regular internet and your 3g would have to go down for you to lose connectivity. But this is why you should always make sure you have a stop loss and take profit set!